Although I really do enjoy the occasional well-done melodrama, somehow, revenge melodramas remain steadfastly in the category of “not quite my kinda thing.”
To date, I haven’t yet seen a revenge melo that I unequivocally loved. I guess I mostly find them just a little too intense, and extreme and, well, kinda crazy, as a general rule.
Without all the positive buzz around Nice Guy as a drama, and without the added push of LUFFING Song Joong Ki in Sungkyunkwan Scandal (so, so adorable!) and then being a sad puppy that he’d gone away to the military, I probably wouldn’t have touched this drama with a ten-foot pole.
Despite being the revenge melo outsider that I am, though, I managed to enjoy this one.. quite well.
The dictionary definition of melodrama reads: a sensational dramatic piece with exaggerated characters and exciting events intended to appeal to the emotions.
Let’s see. Sensational flavor? Check. Exaggerated characters? Check. Designed to appeal to the emotions? Check.
Nice Guy is definitely on the soapy end of the Melodrama Scale. Which means that there were a number of things that I found myself having to adjust my viewing lens for, in order to enjoy the show. Here’s a quick list.
STUFF THAT I HAD TO OVERLOOK
1. Logic lapses.
Whether in a character’s rationale or within the plot itself, logic often wasn’t this show’s strength.
2. Lots of tropes.
Murder, noble idiocy, manipulation, affairs, amnesia, Show had it all. Show’s a little heavier-handed with the tropes than I prefer. Plus, So. Many. Dysfunctional. Relationships. SO MANY.
3. Show is also heavy-handed with coincidences,
..which makes the knitting together of the narrative feel rather lazy at points.
4. Some actual hysterics at points in the story.
I don’t care for hysterics, and this was used in a somewhat OTT manner, as early as episode 5.
STUFF THAT MADE IT WORTH WATCHING
Once I managed to adjust the dial in my brain to accommodate the various elements I just mentioned, I found that there was a fair amount of stuff to enjoy.
1. Convincing Set-Up
Show does a convincing job of setting up why an otherwise sane and normal person might go on a crazed revenge mission.
The way Jae Hee (Park Si Yeon) makes use of Maru (Song Joong Ki) again and again is sickening. And Eun Gi (Moon Chae Won) has to put up with some crazy parenting from her emotionally abusive father (Kim Young Chul).
So much so that I actually managed to buy why they’d get obsessed with revenge.
2. Committed, engaging performances by our leads.
Even when I didn’t buy their warped logic, and even when they were behaving terribly and I felt intense dislike for some of them, our leads remained intriguing and interesting.
Song Joong Ki
Song Joong Ki, in particular, totally hits it out of the ballpark with the looks in his eyes. The hurt and resignation and disbelief when he shows Maru’s vulnerable side, is as arresting as the look of mounting steely determination in his eyes when Maru’s being a hardass.
Not only that, we often see his gaze changing in degrees, and very quickly too. From affectionately supportive, to deadened, to determined with a side of malice, all within seconds. It’s brilliant, and quite remarkable to watch.
Moon Chae Won
Moon Chae Won is also excellent as Eun Gi, and makes Eun Gi come across as a morbidly fascinating character who’s living very aggressively, teetering on a very dangerous edge, as if she’s got nothing left to lose.
Park Si Yeon
Park Si Yeon regularly made me want to puke at Jae Hee’s “poor me” attitude, and her selfish, conniving ways. Which means she did an excellent job of the role, heh.
3. Pretty Cinematography
On a more aesthetic note, Show is quite lovely to look at. Clearly, a lot of thought went into camera frames and angles, and I found it a nice touch. What can I say, I like my Pretty.
Just look at how gorgeous this shot is:
4. Engagement Level
Warped logic, tropes and all, the story itself remains engaging. The multi-faceted relationships, driven by conflicting motivations, with the conflict often warring within a single character, make the story feel layered and interesting.
It’s true that I actually started to tune out a little at the episode 9 mark. The plethora of melodramatic stuff that Show was serving up was designed to keep me engaged and interested, but had the opposite effect of making me go numb, somewhat.
Even so, Show manages to remain engaging in a pretty solid manner most of the way through.
CLOSING THOUGHTS [SPOILERS]
Did I buy everything Show was selling me in the finale episode? No.
Did I think it was stretching the limits of my ability to suspend disbelief? Definitely.
Maru getting stabbed at the crosswalk, while Lawyer Ahn (Kim Tae Hoon) just walks away. And then Maru just continuing to hug and talk to Eun Gi as if nothing’s wrong, and Eun Gi can’t even smell the blood that’s flowing out of him? Riiigght.
See, writer-nim steadfastly continued with the use of weak logic, all the way to the very end.
But, was I relieved that Maru didn’t die, even though all the signs had pointed to his very likely death? Well, yes.
The mental hoops that I jumped through, in order to reconcile the ending in a way that would satisfy my head and my heart, went sorta like this:
At least Maru doesn’t die. The fact that he survived sort of makes it worth the convenient amnesia. At least the amnesia is plausible given that he got brain surgery.
Does he remember Eun Gi? It’s hard to say. Some viewers believe he does remember her and is just pretending to have amnesia. I’m going to go with the idea that his brain doesn’t remember, but his heart seems to.
That’s probably why he keeps going to her bakery even though the food supposedly tastes bad. Otherwise I can’t reconcile why Maru would pretend not to know her.
Yup, quite a few hoops..!
Ultimately, Show’s ending was stronger thematically- rather than narratively-speaking.
So, never mind the narrative weaknesses, here are Show’s ending themes, which I genuinely liked:
That there’s hope in starting over, and in doing what’s right;
That the search for victory isn’t as important as the search for peace.
Now that’s the kind of stuff I can really get behind.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Engaging, even if logic takes a beating. Worth the watch for Song Joong Ki.
FINAL GRADE: B
For those who don’t mind spoilers, here’s a nice MV featuring Song Joong Ki on vocals, titled 정말 (Really).
So so enjoyed Nice Guy. Headed here after Vincenzo, then Descendants of the Sun. Song Joongki has great range and is very competent in his roles. You are right, it’s amazing to see him express emotions just through his eyes. Am now trying to catch Sungkyungkwan Scandal with English subtitles.
This is I would say, is some super late reaction on “Nice Guy” (NG) since this was aired 2012 and I just watched it just recently – as in very recent at that – like it’s now 2021. Wow! Imagine a difference of 9 years there! Kindly bear with me. Hehe
It was actually after watching “Vincenzo” that I got interested in Song Joong-Ki (SJK) so I tried looking for some other K-dramas that featured him, and I decided to check him out in “Nice Guy.”
And I would say the revenge melodrama was indeed a rollercoaster ride as it really played on the bad side of human behavior with manipulation here and there, and how far ambition, betrayal and love will take you. Though, there were of course, takeaways for viewers, I just felt that somehow it “pulled me down” like I’m carrying a heavy emotional baggage so much so that I had to turn to reflections and reviews like this one to be able to articulate my feelings right after watching the series. Even if it ended on a positive note with Kang Maru saying “he is happy right now” – (but still with so much questions concerning the last episode just like in the previous ones as it has its flaws), I was very much affected and bothered on how such kind of pain can be experienced by some people. In the real world, what Maru experienced was too much too bear. It was a good thing that he was given a chance to start over and be happy. So I can say, the heavy feeling is somewhat compensated with Maru getting a “new life” in the end.
I would also like to mention t’was very good acting by the cast especially SJK, as I’ve also noticed that his eyes by itself can show and shift emotions. Looking forward to watching him in his other past projects and future ones as well.
And like what I’ve mentioned I had this desire to further articulate and sort out my feelings, so I searched and stumbled upon your blog. Awesome that my thoughts, my questions, my feelings about NG you already expressed – right on the dot. By the way, it’s my first time to post comments on a blog for a K drama. I can’t help it. I can very relate to your review. Thank you for that!
@Decka – If you’re a Song Joon ki fan these are “must sees”:
Sungkyunkwann Scandal (his first break through)
A Werewolf Boy (movie)
Descendants of the Sun
OK .. KFanG .. it’s late pre-dawn hours of the night here ..
Just wrapped – a binge night and day – 20 hours of The Innocent Man (aka Nice Guy) and whooshed into your long review (after a detour at Dramabeans to make sense of the finale) ..
I chuckled so hard that Sungkyunkwan Scandal sent you to I.M. because I too was stopped dad in my tracks when I first met arresting face and acting talent of Song Joon Ki.
I ran to a Joon Ki show because of my “tragic drop” of SSKK.
I dropped SSKK (I left a “I-am-heartbroken post at your SSKK review) because I couldn’t bear to watch a show where they tease you with someone like Song Joon Ki who has you at first smirk, smile and wink at Park Min Young .. fooling you into thinking that he’ll end up being the lead .. and then taking the train I boarded towards a destination I was not happy going to. I jumped off ..
That jump off was so unpleasant and I felt so bummed out that I instantly needed some solace in a full blooded Song Joon Ki main lead show.
I have this name for shows I seek out to ‘heal me’ from injuries of dropped shows ..
After weighing all the options under Joon Ki lead dramas – Descendants of the Sun shone the brightest .. but Lady serendipity waiting in the wings pointed me elsewhere.
A KfanG short verdict that pushed me over the edge of hesitation; that gushing intro to Episode 1 at Dramabeans … I fell right into the show ..
Got caught in a strong undertow .. and didn’t emerge until a while ago.
If it wasn’t for the shortchanged Finale episodes .. I’d have rated this a A+ .. I give in an A on my list ;-p
CONFESSION : I LOVE a well made rollicking melodrama ..
~ which is restrained in the waterworks ..
~ has complex characters .. not all black and white – good and evil ..
– smart story telling technique that is neither too linear (snore .. FFWD this) nor too twisty (should I read the subtitles or should I keep track of timelines and character kind of bug-me-out scripts)
~ complex relationship threads tying main leads that does not baulk from creating relationships ~ that twine together in sticky, messy duality .. Just as in real life you don’t suddenly move from love of your life to hate of your life or to someone else in your life .. it’s a long road to recovery and release from the ghosts of the past ..
~ the side story lines stay focused and clean and sparse, does not distract too much from the main line and are equally adorable, fresh and engaging, free of cringe factor – Melos die for me when I get those ughfeelz
So the fact that you KFanG who I know is a self-proclaimed non-lover of MELO genre admitted to being swept by it; your nodding appreciatively made me confident enough to DIVE right in .. inspite of the worrisome B ( I said : oh that’s cause Melo isn’t her thing ;-p )
The fact that you too came to it post SSKK’s Song Joon Ki, holding up his glory flag fluttering in the winds of validation from you ..
I knew Descendants of Sun would have to wait ..
I was a MELO Drama person first.
Besides Ratings list on Wiki gave it some serious numbers ;-D
(BTW what’s his nickname?? I know Wookie / Woobie – Woobin / Binnie .. what’s for Joon Ki)
LOVE LOVE LOVED it.
Am sleepy now. More later ..
Wow it sounds like you had quite a marathon with this show, Bosuji! 20 hours! You sure have excellent drama stamina! 😉 I actually have come to enjoy melos a lot more now, and if you’re looking for another revenge melo, I much preferred Money Flower to Innocent Man. I thought it was much more solid and satisfying overall. That said, I’m glad you had fun with this one! 🙂 As for nickname, I actually don’t think there is one, for Song Joong Ki.. 🤔
I think Aqua is the most recent commenter on this show..
And there was some back and forth between you two.
I have so much to add (pros cons what bugged me made me hiccup and reach for the wipes)..
Will be back here soon..
KFanG.. It’s just so wonderful that you and @Beez make yourselves available for feedback and discussion while the comment is still warm from the viewer/commenter <3
I try my best to keep abreast of the comments, but I have to confess that sometimes I can fall terribly behind, and sometimes, I completely miss some comments. So.. heads-up that I might let you down one day..? 😛😅
@Bosuji – I’m just a busybody with no one to discuss my Kdrama addiction with. So I’m glad to have like-minded people to talk to!
Lol.. Am so glad to have found a Club here that I’m enjoying visiting now on a fairly regular basis
Not an official nick name but Joong ki will always be Werewolf Boy to me.
Ha ha ha.. This is so coincidental …I too decided to use Joong Ki 😂
Indelible Joong Ki as Werewolf..
Watched it twice now.. Am definitely go for a third in the future.. Like a song that you return to often.
I have now taken to bending my head for an atta boy 🤪
That haunting song My Prince.. golden sunlight that turns her into a glowing, shining angel and his face in its brightness drinking in the music
It plays again in the poetic end credit sequence but now in evening blue tones where he is a dark silhouette in the distant snowy landscape rolling snow balls.. Back and forth.. At the end of which he slumps down besides the snowman..
Is he waiting again? “You did good boy”
When the music stops and the credits roll to the end.. I could almost hear the snow falling silently outside the window she used to look out from.
Couldn’t find this song on iTunes / Spotify / Soundcloud (there is a piano cover instrumental which is of low sound quality so doesn’t count) – I usually locate and store on the phone most of my fave OST..
YouTube has a few links.. Though that end credit clip not there.
Have copied the clip and stored on my laptop now.. Will upload on youtube for others who maybe running to YouTube to listen and watch the end credit song again..
So I finally finished watching it after a hectic last year, and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the show (although it did get a bit draggy in the middle) and managed to bypass most of its logic holes except during the last episode when he is literally stabbed and Eungi doesn’t notice a thing. Not only does she not notice the blood but also she doesn’t notice Lawyer Ahn? WTF? Wish show touched up on whatever happened to the information that Lawyer Park’s father had a hand in killing Eungi’s mother. I wish we could have seen Lawyer Park and Eungi’s relationship more as friends. Also, whatever happened to Taesan? That bothers me how they glossed over it–I’m assuming Lawyer Park took over it or something but still. As for the prosopagnosia, it did somewhat make sense since he had brain surgery and all. So it wasn’t actually amnesia, he just seemed to have trouble recognizing Eungi after he was done with his studies in America and thus had to “renew” his relationship with her again–like he originally prayed for. What really had my panties in a twist and made me have the urge to assault the writers though was Maru standing through Eungi’s spiel as he was literally bleeding with both Eungi and the taxi driver being oblivious, and then he continued to WALK to the hospital without calling his doctor or a friend like a sane person. Gosh it made me so angry I had to dock the show .5 points for all that bull in the final episode.
Also one thing I’d like to point out is that this show had amazing underlying themes which is why I ended up giving it an 8.5. I wish the direction and lighting could have been kicked up a notch and really emphasized those themes. For example SKY Castle matches themes with cinematography exceptionally well, so I wish they had used dark and light to their advantage. But it is a 2013 drama so I suppose it went with what was popular for melodramas then. I’d be up for a revision of this drama, or a similar drama, but with better cinematography. Oh, and the OST could have been changed up a bit to really kick in the angst. I love Junsu and his voice but the same 2 songs playing makes for a boring viewership experience.
Hi there Aqua, good to see you! 🙂 I must admit that the details of this show are hazy to my mind now, coz it’s been a fair while since I watched it. BUT, I do recall being incredulous at exactly the things you brought up, about the finale. I just could not believe that Eun Gi could just completely miss the fact that Ma Ru was badly injured and bleeding out right in front of her. It just didn’t make sense to me, and I just didn’t have enough goodwill in me to exercise THAT extent of suspension of disbelief. 😜😆 I mean, I’m used to writers stretching logic, but this was just stretching it too far, for me! 😝
Thanks for sharing your insight about matching themes to cinematography! I hadn’t thought of that when I watched it, but you’re so right, that if a show manages to do that, that it makes for a more cohesive, thought-provoking watch. And I absolutely agree about the music; the same old songs all the time does make for a viewing experience that feels comparatively more stagnant and boring. :/
Thanks for the reply! And yes, I really appreciate when shows manage to do that for me. Cinematography is getting increasingly better these days with kdramas, which I really appreciate.
Am a little late with my comments as I just figure out how to add a comment on your review.Thanks for giving a real & honest feedback about what made the show tick -the 3 leads that acted with so much passion, hate & pain, including the femme fatale Park Si Yeon. This is the show where I discovered Moon Chae Won & her chemistry with Song Joong Ki is one of the best I’ve seen in K-dramas. Better than SJK & SHK in DOTs which was not sizzling enough to me.I pray hard that SJK will act with MCW in another show as I’ll pay to watch even if it’s a movie. The chemistry, to me is as real as Weightlifting Fairy Lee Sung Kyung & Nam Joo Hyuk and Something in the Rain Son Ye-Jin & Jung Hae-In.
My fave scene : when Kang Maru expressed his thoughts to Jae Hee about his regret for taking the fall for her.The words resonate so well bec. sometimes the sacrifice does not justify the mayhem that one simple action can lead to. The script for that scene was so well written I’ve not seen at all in many K-dramas that I’ve watched. No doubt the show has its flaws (all the scenes of Maru sister & Kwang Soo), but overall totally a fab melo drama to showcase SJK range.
No worries about being late, Elle! I’m super pleased you figured out how to work the comments, coz I’m always happy to hear from readers! 😀 Also, I’m glad you enjoyed this show. I didn’t love it as much as most other folks did, but I do concede the actors did a very good job. Also, I did end up feeling more engaged with this show more than I’d expected, so that’s something! 😉
I was pretty much on the ride for the revenge did. Joong Ki did a very good job with Ma Roo. I love his deep acting on Ma Roo. The best thing is I love how pretty consistent Ma Roo character is.
I had watched a lot of K-Drama which the character change 180 and was a change to his original attitude. People call it being in love effects. But to be honest I’m in love with Ma Roo attitude here. He doesn’t lose his original attitude and personality. In fact his original aspect stand out a lot when Eun Gi confessed and he still thinks about revenge, even though he’s feeling guilty about it too.
MCW is good with Eun Gi but I didn’t manage to love her character more than I love JK’s Ma Roo.
I despise Jae Hee. Like how shameless she can be. And Ms. Park do a very good job in making me wanna slap the woman multiple times throughout the episodes.
Overall JK’s intake on Ma Roo characterization beats all of them.
The ending is just unsatisfactory I guess, what with the holes here and there like you said. I’m still glad Ma Roo didn’t die tho cause I mean his life is just sad and depressing. ( I still think it is more alternate universe than anything. I mean the road was empty and he did show a very dead scene ).
Can you recommend when if you know any drama with the man as main character ( While Eun Gi can be said as main, Ma Roo is more dominant as main, the story revolve starting from Ma Roo anyway), that also kind of like Ma Roo.
Like didn’t turn 180 later on, also didn’t have annoying partner ( bubbly girl. Like Eun Gi border)
Thanks!! If it is situasional revenge, like wit and manipulation it’ll be even better!!
Boy do I agree with you! The acting was very good, the ending totally unsatisfactory for my taste. The intense moments were too intense for me. I am certain Kfan will recommend some for you; I know that she recommends many for me and is right on the money. I hate bad endings and “novellas” which are too intense.
Hi there Kisa, I do agree Song Joong Ki was excellent as Ma Roo. He’s the main reason I checked out this show, and the main reason I stayed till the end, even though I didn’t love the show as much as others did. And I so agree – I often wanted to reach into my screen and slap Jae Hee! 😝
I don’t often watch revenge dramas, as they often disappoint me in the end. It’s also hard to find one where the lead doesn’t experience a strong change, because I doubt Korean broadcasting guidelines allow a show to appear to condone the act of revenge, which often includes taking the law into one’s own hands. Having said that, you might want to consider City Hunter, Bridal Mask (Gaksital) &/or Heartless City. These are shows that do contain revenge elements, that aren’t strictly revenge shows, but which are very good dramas, with good characters, that I found enjoyable to watch. I hope that helps! 😊
PS: If you’re willing to branch out beyond modern day dramas and kdramas in general, I highly recommend Nirvana In Fire, a Chinese period drama. It’s the flip side of revenge – the main character’s seeking justice. Lots of wit and manipulation, and just so brilliant on every level, I feel it’s possibly the best drama I have ever seen.
So, obviously I watched this purely for SJK. Although I appreciated his amazing emotional range as an actor in this role, I just couldn’t help wanting to smack him for his terrible taste in women. Both lead females are so charmless, I wonder why he fell for them at all. Park Si Yeon has a pretty but sulky face, but Moon Chae Won is average-looking and her character has such a mean disposition I just couldn’t understand why Kang Ma Roo fell for her. I found myself going noooooooo several times during the show because goshdarnit Ma Roo is so dang gullible at times. OK, rant over.
Lol. I’ve come to realize that this seems to be a Thing with revenge melos. Like, people don’t make sense. I felt the same way while watching Mask. My conclusion is, revenge melos are just not my thing. XD
Moon Chae Won is a very beautiful actress. Check her out in Painter of the Wind and Princess Man, you’ll see more of her beauty. Her make up here especially in the earlier episodes is something that’s really not very appealing to me.
Having finished “Princess’s Man” after kfangurl recommended it (you were right kfan, they did end up together and I liked that), decided to see this one before going on to the “sungky… scandal”, which was next on my list, because I thought I needed a break from the emotional upheaval of “Princess’s Man” (PM). However, after watching seven episodes I found myself in a more nervous wreck than with PM, so I went to the last seven minutes of episode 20. What? Where?, When?. After reading the posts and spoilers (I’m the type I have to know everything before I enjoy the drama), I don’t know if to continue or just stop and call it an evening. Kfangurl, would I be satisfied with the ending if I watched it all?
Aw, Andy! I think you might want to shelve Nice Guy for now (it’s very melodramatic and full of emotional upheaval. Plus, the ending is sort of the open type, where you’re supposed to interpret what it all means, on your own. You might not like that), and just move on to Sungkyunkwan Scandal (if you’re up for a sageuk), coz SKKS is light, cute, and lots of fun.
PS: Glad you enjoyed TPM, intense emotional upheaval and all! But yeah, you probably need something lighter now, to soothe the frayed nerves! 😉
Will do that, thank you, as usual; well appreciated!.
You’re very welcome, Andy! I hope that by the time you read this, that your nerves would’ve been soothed by the frothy fun of SKKS! 🙂
Stuff that made me enjoy this…Song Joong Ki
HAHA. EXACTLY. That pretty much sums it up for me, too, really! I hung in there for Song Joong Ki 😉
Well, just like you, I struggled to connect with the characters on an emotional level. However, I think it was interesting that the show wasn’t told only from Maru or Eun Gi’s perspective. I found Jae Hee’s perspective very interesting because it showed how her life just went downhill after she made conscious choices and I don’t remember her making excuses for it. Like she knew she was doing bad things, but she did them anyway because at some point her definition of happiness got all twisted? Like the more she tried to be happy and was willing to reach that happiness by any mean necessary, the more miserable she became because she hurt Maru in the process? But she didn’t know how to be happy without hurting him? That’s very tragic, but all the crazy aside, she was the dark aspect of humane nature… The selfish part of who we are. And combined with Maru’s sense of self-sacrifice, she just got to express it more than you’d do in real life. (And Park Si Yeon is good at making her characters good to hate) Still for some reason, I enjoyed her character more than Joo Da Hae in Quuen of Ambition… And iirc, both dramas were often compared in the beginning…)
I must say I actually chuckled during the scene where Maru holds a convo while bleeding and she doesn’t even notice? I mean, it wasn’t just one or twords, right? It was a full conversation that lasted more than 30 seconds… Oh; dramalaaand…. But wasn’t the ending changed at the last minute b/c of viewers pressure? I think I remember reading about it at that time. Hence the very ambiguous ending with the amnesia trope. It was like a big “you wanted a happy ending, there, happy now?”.
You make a fascinating point about Jae Hee, Sunny! It’s true that framed in that way, her character is much more interesting. I must confess I was so annoyed with her character that I didn’t actually put thought into understanding her more, or empathizing with her. It’s definitely twisted and all kinds of terrible that she didn’t know how to be happy without hurting Maru. I just found it despicable that she kept choosing to preserve her own position by sacrificing Maru, over and over again. While that can be an intriguing way of examining the human condition, I kinda hate to think that we as human beings are, deep down, as twisted and self-centered as Jae Hee. 😛
YES, that bleeding out scene was ridiculous, seriously. How in the world could all the blood pour out of Maru without anyone noticing, right??? If you don’t see it, surely you’d smell it, is what I think!
And THIS: “you wanted a happy ending, there, happy now?” HAHAHA!!! SO PERFECT! XD I suppose from the writer’s point of view, that’s the perfect way to give viewers what they wanted, but still upset them anyway! XD
Kfangurl, your review is spot on for me! I have a love hate relationship with this drama. My annoyance factor was sky high with the constant manipulations by Jae Hee and my utter disbelief that Maru kept on forgiving her. That scene in the park when he was willing to take her back??? Even after the countless betrayals? Oh my! SJK kept me watching and I love the chemistry between him and MCW. It was successful in a sense it did trigger my emotional yo yo and made me care about the characters. I like your description of PSY. I have the same reaction and it is so bad that I sub-consciously avoid all her other dramas 🙂 Great review!
“Park Si Yeon regularly made me want to puke at Jae Hee’s “poor me” attitude, and her selfish, conniving ways. Which means she did an excellent job of the role, heh.”
I’m so glad that this review resonates with you, Mitta! 🙂 And y’know, I actually do somewhat avoid Park Si Yeon dramas, as she tends to get those types of roles, and she’s just too good at making her character aggravating and hateful! XD Her luscious pout also levels up her “poor me” attitude in this show to become truly annoying, lol. But that just made me root for Maru all the more, in the hope that he would actually make her regret all her terrible actions. I think that was one of the things that kept me watching, despite feeling very aggravated every time Maru found it in his heart to give her another chance, or the benefit of the doubt.
Ah I adored the acting of all of the mains in this drama, but you’re right, the elements to make it all melodramatic just didn’t work, and were a more than a little OTT.
But still, it gives me every reason to continue worshiping Joong Ki after SKKS, so I can’t complain that much 😛
I actually would have preferred the ending without the epilogue… depressing? Yes, but I felt like Maru’s life was filled with so much sadness, that it would have had the final tragic impact that would have made all of the previous drama worth it…
Oh yes, the acting was great all-around, and I thought SJK in particular got to show some impressive range. ESPECIALLY when taken in the context of SKKS, where he played SUCH a different character! I do wish there was another show out there where we get to see SJK being all flirty and flighty like he was in SKKS – SO ADORABLE <3
Your version of the ending for NG is quite intriguing, actually. It would've achieved a much darker tone and made us mourn Maru like there was no tomorrow for sure.. I do think they stopped short of doing that, for the sake of viewers who just desperately wanted Maru to catch a break. Poor guy had such a hard life throughout the show, it was a relief to see him have a chance to start over, I think 🙂
Yeah, SKJ has such an impressive range! I loved how there were still little bits of Yeorim shining through when Maru was putting on that playboy air around the women. I am so pumped for when he starts his new drama <3
For the ending, I have to say that part of me is relieved that he finally got some sort of happiness at the end, or at least a chance for happiness free from all of the baggage of his past. But still, sometimes you just crave tragedy!
Oh yes, it’d be great to have SJK back on our screens again.. Although, I suspect his character will be on the more intense of the scale than Yeorim in SKKS. I’d love him to play a modern-day Yeorim type – I think he’d be awfully cute ^^
Also, Sunny’s comment below makes me think that the writers actually wanted something like your alternate ending, but gave in to viewer pressure to give Maru a happier conclusion. I guess in your head you can just go with writer-nim’s original intention? 😉
Oh, after reading the comment I have to agree. The ending did seem completely out of tone with the rest of the series, so a last-minute change explains that.
In my head, it’s safe to say he died haha
Right? I thought Sunny’s explanation made a lot of sense too! Like, Ahhh! I see what they did there! XD So now we know where the writers were probably headed originally, and I wouldn’t be surprised if your version of the ending lands a lot closer to what the writers had in mind to begin with! ^^
I enjoyed this show…it was stylish and engaging…with a fast pace. But I never got emotionally connected to anyone and I couldn’t get behind the main romance. I don’t even know how they fell in love… Haha…yes, there was chemistry but it felt like Mary fell in.love off screen while I couldn’t understand Eun Gi’s fascination.
Hahaha!! That’s a very funny autocorrect error right there! Made me giggle XD
That’s a great point.. The extent to which Maru and Eun Gi were fascinated with each other was a bit less than believable for me too, but I put it down to one of those things that kdramas sometimes do, where they just expect you to believe that two people are madly in love, even if they haven’t shown you how that happened. Also, a lot of other stuff wasn’t necessarily logical in this show either, so this kinda just felt like another illogical thing, lol.
I also loved one of the background scores which is used for most of the scenes…I’ll try to search that on YT and post it.
Hm.. Let me guess.. Could it be this one?? 🙂
It’s this one:
Ahh! Nice one! 😀 It’s got a lot of character, and is very immersive. Thanks for reminding me of this one, snow! 🙂
Now you both got me humming along like a crazy woman. Love this music!!
Hehe! You’re welcome? 😉 I didn’t love this show as much as you did, but I definitely noticed the music. Actually, I think the music played a sizably big part, in helping me to enjoy the show more and getting more immersed in this drama world. 🙂
At first, yeah I was really confused on how they really fell in love. Then I was going back to all what has happened during the period of Ma Ru version 2.0 (the gigolo Ma Ru). I realized that he really did like Eun Gi even when he was still revengeful to Jae Hee. He already noticed that Eun Gi was pretty during the plane scene although of course given the situation back then, he would have not lingered on it. I am thankful he did not because that would have lead Eun Gi to just one of his victims. haha. But then as “destiny” pushed them together in many other circumstances, I felt that Ma Ru really liked and cared for her. He was even vocal about it. He told her many times that she was his type. It was just that Ma Ru is all conflicted, confused, hurt and revengeful. And Jae Hee is always there to play with his feelings. Come to think of it, it was not really his idea to approach Eun Gi. Eun Gi was the first one to ask him out. That was after they fetch Choco from her biological mom. Then when they parted ways after brunch with Daddy Tae San, Eun Gi was the first one to call Ma Ru. And Ma Ru was happy about it. Eun Gi said that she misses him and he replied that he’ll come over, in a heartbeat. That was even before knowing that Han Jae Hee was there too. From there, I was convinced that he really cared for her to a certain extent. But he was still in love with Jae Hee and add-ons to that were his anger and pain. And as I have said, Jae Hee was always there playing with his feelings. So it really made him confused. He was gradually falling for Eun Gi but he was still busy with the internal conflict going in him. Also, the night Eun Gi was so drunk and he found her and she was talking about how she likes him, I think that’s time he realized that he likes her. He wants to let her go because he is not yet sure himself and he wants to spare her from the pain that he may cause. He even had that disappointed and sad yet relieved face when she broke up with him. He also asked the reason why the sudden break up. And his reaction after Eun Gi left, it was so sad and it’s like him questioning, why every woman he cares for are just always slipping away from him? And I don’t think he’s upset because he lost his card for his revenge. If he really sees Eun Gi as that, he would try everything in his power and charm to make her stay. But he didn’t. So it’s otherwise. So when she went back to confess her love under the rain, I am quite sure that’s the moment Ma Ru has also acknowledged his feelings for Eun Gi. And the look he gave Jae Hee while hugging Eun Gi? I don’t think it’s just plain “i’m getting my revenge by using this girl”. It’s more of, “I’m having my revenge at you by hopefully taking another chance in love with this girl who loves me with all her heart. ” And that has driven Jae Hee crazy enough to make a staged crime scene just to get Ma Ru rushing to her. She knows he’s not 100% faking it. And that’s the reason why she always says it to Ma Ru’s face that he is using Eun Gi because that’s the truth that she wants to believe in because deep down there, she knows she is slowly losing Ma Ru to Eun Gi. We can’t really say that at this point he is in love, the process was gradual and messy so it’s really hard to point out and we all get confused, which is the main point of this drama. It gets you confused. haha.
Also, if you go back to the scene where Ma Ru was hugging Eun Gi under the rain, the musical score is not the usual tango thingy wherein you’ll know that someone is plotting against another. haha . So I think that’s also an evidence that the directors have intentionally made that scene the turning point of Ma Ru to cherish Eun Gi. Although he had another turning point to finally abandon Jae Hee, that was the villa scene.
Maybe give Bad Guy a try? It is one of the best well dont revenge melo Ive ever seen, I was just gripped by it. Its not as known but I think deserves to be… Nice guy though wasnt my cup of tea for some reason.
I hear that one has a super depressing ending! But it does sound interesting on paper. Thanks for the recommendation.
it does I admit, but god the ride is so worth it, if you have time do check it out 🙂 and no problem~
I’ve watched Bad Guy, actually. I thought it was not bad, though I didn’t love it. I like Kim Nam Gil, and I thought Jung So Min was interesting playing edgy & vengeful instead of sweet and innocent. I definitely didn’t love the ending, even though I kind of got the statement the writers were trying make. I guess revenge melos just aren’t quite my thing. But I’m always curious to check out a show if it’s got particularly good buzz. I’m nosey that way, I guess! XD
MY GATEWAY DRAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was hooked and white knuckled watching this. Thinking, you- rock, Werewolf Boy!! And his voice was sexy as all get out. Because he only uttered 2 lines in WB.
I’d just seen the movie in theaters a few days prior to finding this and discovering Kdrama. Looking back with my now VERY well-seasoned lens, it’s a total cracky melo, very similar to dramas like Secret, Big Man, etc. I don’t know when it happened, but I started to love that genre. I just don’t love when I become emotionally invested and the hero has to die. So if I hear something is a sad melo, I don’t really want to see it.
I was happy for the convenient amnesia. I like how you describe his memories. The head forgot, but not the heart. But then there’s that little ring box he gave her. Maru had stashed that ring box away years before at one time. He just never got a chance to give it to her. Interesting. Very ambivalent ending. But I wasn’t frustrated because he lived. I loved his best friend and little sister, and how their relationship grew into love and marriage. She was always after him and he just looked at her like a pesky little girl. It was cute.
And I agree with you about the hysterics. Both female leads had bouts that made me want to reach through the screen and just shake them up to shut them up. I hate hysteria over things that can calmly and rationally be discussed. I pretty much hate drama queens. In RL I’m surrounded by a few and it causes me heartburn and headaches.
And the soundtrack thrilled me. Loved all the tango-esque music.
Nice flash review!
Heh. I knew you’d get a kick outta this review, if only because it was your gateway drama!! XD
I still haven’t seen Werewolf Boy, though I’ve heard so many good things that it’s not budging from my super long watch list! I find it fascinating that you love the extreme melos but don’t watch if you know it’s going to be sad.. I mean, that sorta rules out quite a big chunk of the extreme melos right there, right? XD On the other hand, I am the type to actually enjoy a sad melo, if it’s done well and it’s not sadness for the sake of sadness. But I tend to steer away from extreme melos coz they tend to have that tendency for crazy. We really do have pretty different tastes in dramas! But that’s kinda good, coz then between us, we’ve got more dramas covered than if we liked the same things all the time!
Yes, Lee Kwang Soo’s arc with Lee Yoo Bi was pretty cute, although I did find Choco quite annoying at times. When she’d use emotional blackmail on Maru, I wanted to shake her, and hard. But her loveline with Jae Gil was pretty cute, and that helped to bring some light to the otherwise heavy later stretch of the show.
And about the OST – I thought it did a great job of creating atmospheric tension, but when I realized it sounded like a tango, it actually had the opposite effect of making me want to giggle, somewhat. Like, I half expected the characters to start busting out dance moves or something. XD
hahaha, bust out a tango. Thanks to reading this I’m just about done listening to the soundtrack. I also love Song Joong Ki’s song. And loved how they tossed in “Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone” in a bar scene.
Well…true it’s weird I think that way about melos. It’s not the first genre I turn to, but somehow I get sucked into cracky melos and can’t stop watching. I think my favorite part is the revenge, but not extreme blood thirsty revenge, but like, take downs of corporate big wigs, getting the crooked people framed to jail, etc. People getting what they really deserve.
Of course there are stinkers. I was soooo hyped to see Golden Cross a month ago, I watched six or seven episodes and I couldn’t take the over done tragedy and huge lapses in logic. Particularly by the lead girl who’s supposed to be so smart but every time she opens her mouth someone else in the male lead’s family gets killed.
I forgot that Choco was quite the manipulator at times. I guess the cuteness overshadowed that. Poor Maru, nearly every woman in his life was a manipulator. Even MCW’s character at points.
Song Joong Ki is pretty talented isn’t he? I thought he did a really nice job on the OST! 🙂
Ah.. Ok, I see what you mean about the type of revenge you find cracky.. People getting their just desserts does sound like a pretty good hook. Although, I’m not much into corporate type shows, coz I generally don’t find the corporate world very gripping. That’s why I still haven’t managed to muster up the interest to watch Midas, even though the wonderful Jang Hyuk’s in it! 😛 Sorry Golden Cross didn’t work out for you.. I actually heard good things about that one, but I suppose as with all extreme melos, you’d have needed to accept a lot of those overdone tragic moments and logic lapses in order to enjoy it!
Yes, poor Maru. He was absolutely manipulated by all the women in his life that were important to him. That’s actually why Choco grated on me in the beginning especially. Coz as a sister I expected her to be more understanding of her brother, but instead she regularly whisked out her Sick Card to make Maru feel as guilty as possible. I found that Supremely Annoying, on Maru’s behalf!
LOL Her sick card. Reminds me of Gong Yoo’s sister-friend in One Fine day. I hate those gals in dramas when they see the lead suddenly caring for someone else they start to feel faint and become wilting flowers. Sometimes it’s done so cheesily too.
Midas had its boring moments, but it was all around a good drama with strong performances.
I’m thinking of going back to Golden Cross, since I’ve developed a better appreciation for Kim Kang Woo. He’s fantastic in Missing Noir M. That drama I really like. It’s dark and deep, and it has Park Hee Soon, I just love him. And He’s awesome as the ‘scruffy’ detective type.
OMG One Fine Day!! That was a terrible show, which I watched TWICE, all for Gong Yoo (the things I do for fangirl love!).. Both times, that character grated on me, so much! I was so aggravated by her continually using emotional blackmail to get his attention. Grahh.
It’s great to hear that Kim Kang Woo is great in Missing Noir M! I definitely enjoy having him on my screen, and that show is on my watch list, though admittedly not super high up. I hope Golden Cross works out for you the second time around.. I’ve had complete turnarounds on dramas before, when I was in a different mood &/or employed a different lens. 🙂
Not one of my favourites by a long shot, but… the parts that worked, did work really, really well. I did check out emotionally around midway though and that ending was quite anticlimatic. Joon Ki was great and probably the one thing that kept me watching till the end. Even though MCW was almost equally good, I couldn’t quite connect with her char.
Too much melo gives me indigestion and coupled with revenge… ugh. XD
Oh my, sounds like we had very similar responses to this show, Timescout!!! I mean, I thought SJK was excellent, but couldn’t quite connect with MCW’s character.. especially since she seemed to have sudden changes in personality at points, which I found rather uneven overall. My emotional engagement also went down partway through.
I like a good melo, but revenge melos just seem to have that extra dose of crazy that makes it hard for me to really get on board. This is probably the revenge melo that I like more than the others that I’ve attempted, which says something I guess? XD