…And another one on my drama plate bites the dust.
I’m not in a dropping mood or anything, I swears. I promise that there are dramas that I’ve finished and liked, even. I just haven’t finished writing the reviews (they’ll come, honest!).
I really wanted to like Ho Goo’s love, and even stuck with it for 10 whole episodes, hoping that it would hook me properly at some point. 10 episodes into Show’s total of 16, though, I realized that this show simply wasn’t working for me.
That’s not to say that I didn’t like all of what Show had to offer. In fact, there were a couple of things that I found pretty promising from the get-go.
WHAT WAS PROMISING
Choi Woo Shik as Kang Ho Goo
I must say, Choi Woo Shik is perfectly cast as Ho Goo. He makes Ho Goo an adorable beta male who’s sincere and earnest, and always wanting to believe the best in people.
Kudos to Choi Woo Shik for preventing Ho Goo from coming across as pathetic, even in pathetic-looking situations. He plays Ho Goo with so much heart that Ho Goo’s sincerity consistently keeps on shining through, even when he behaves in bemusing ways at times.
Im Seul Ong as Byun Kang Chul
I thought Im Seul Ong did a solid job of portraying Kang Chul’s two very different sides; the cold aloof successful guy, vs. the vain, petty, insecure man-child that he is when his guard is lowered.
While I found Im Seul Ong’s portrayal a little too extreme on either end – I found him too cold when he was being aloof, and I found him too OTT when he was being comedic – I did appreciate him for adding interest to a narrative that I otherwise had difficulty engaging with.
In particular, I found his confusion over his feelings for Ho Goo very amusing. I found the crossed wires between Ho Goo and Kang Chul hilarious and painful to watch at the same time, and enjoyed Kang Chul’s horrified reaction whenever his heart raced for Ho Goo.
It made me laugh, and honestly, it’s thanks to this arc that I actually stuck with Show until episode 10.
Other than our two male leads, here’s a handful of other, more minor things that I found promising:
1. Ho Goo’s losery friends (Choi Jae Hwan and Lee Shi Un) are perfectly cast. Together, they make a very fitting trio of misfits.
2. There’s some fun meta in the beginning of the show. Like Lee Sung Min’s cameo in episode 1 as his Chief Oh character from Misaeng.
And the sly nod to Healer, in the fantasy parkour sequence from the same episode. And then there’s the very nicely woven-in shout-out Min Do Hee’s Seo Tai Ji obsession from Answer Me 1994. I thought these were fun little touches.
3. Show tries to weave meaningful themes into its narrative, like the idea of things looking pretty from afar, in episode 2.
4. The arc between Ho Kyung (Lee Soo Kyung) and Kang Chul seemed rich for the mining.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
There’s actually a bunch of stuff that didn’t work for me. There’s also one Major Offender, which eventually became the straw that caused this camel to quit.
Here’s a quick rundown of what the other things are, before I get into the main thing that didn’t work for me.
1. UEE’s and Choi Woo Shik’s chemistry feels more platonic than romantic. Which is a bit of a downer considering they are the OTP of this show.
2. It’s a full 7 episodes into Show’s total of 16 before it feels like the story’s setup is complete. That feels rather inefficient, to spend almost half of your total screentime in setup.
3. There are times when the timelines are confusing. Like in episode 3, where we skip back and forth several times in the timeline. There were distinct times I literally had no idea where we really were, time-wise.
4. The gross nature of the humor.
I mean, I know Korea has a penchant for toilet humor, but seriously, showing us in unrelenting detail, Kang Chul’s secretary Gong Mi (Song Ji In) squeezing her giant zit?? That is definitely grosser than toilet humor. Way to stoop to a new low, Dramaland.
The main problem, though, was that The Funny that Show intended just never quite landed for me. I think it’s safe to say that I didn’t manage to laugh at about 90% of Show’s Intended Funny.
[MINOR SPOILER ALERT]
In episode 5, for example, Show’s Intended Funny included:
- Ho Goo’s family talking in gestures for an extended period of time,
- Ho Goo bawling that the baby’s been born with a cord stuck to it,
- Ho Goo getting kicked by a sleeping Ho Kyung, and
- Kang Chul being extremely vain and in-yo-face in court.
I tried multiple times to adjust my lens, to help the Intended Funny land better, but no dice. It didn’t work.
What made this even trickier, was the fact that Show was essentially attempting to balance the heavy subject matter of the struggles of single-parenthood with the campy humor, cartoony effects, spoofs, and odd & zany side characters.
But the juxtaposition was a very uneasy one for me, especially since I didn’t find The Funny very funny at all, if I’m being honest.
Looking back, I think I’d prefer it if the show had gone for a more understated approach. Or maybe even treated the heavy subject matter as a full-on melo, with some lighter arcs thrown in, like in One Warm Word.
THE FINAL DECISION
In the end, I didn’t hate what I did see of this show, and with just 6 more episodes left before I reached the end, I even considered whether I ought to just hang in there to see it to its conclusion.
It’s just, I had the feeling that even if I did hang on to see it to the end, that I’d probably end up giving this show something like a C+ as a final grade, for the simple reason that I never felt genuinely connected to it.
Ultimately, 6 more hours of my life for what felt like a C+ drama (at best), just didn’t feel worth it, for me.
Sorry I didn’t love you enough, Ho Goo. Don’t cry too much though, ok? After all, there are people out there who really do love you. I just don’t happen to be one of ’em, is all. *patpat*
I didn’t like the show either. I dropped it by ep 3 I think.
Ah! We’re on the same page, then, Myra! 🙂 So many people enjoyed this one that I felt like the odd one out for not liking it. I just never managed to get into it. You’re quick AND wise, for dropping out so quickly when it didn’t work for you!
I’m not really a slapstick kind of person, but this show had so much heart, and the characters were so engaging and appealing that the slapstick really didn’t bother me. I enjoyed the show from the beginning, but a lot of the character development takes place in the second half, so you may have not seen all of that. I’m not sure I agree that dramas are getting worse in general, by the way. In the last year I’ve seen some pretty good dramas, including Healer, Kill Me Heal Me, Secret Love Affair, It’s Okay That’s Love, Heart to Heart, Witch’s Romance. Perhaps I’m not as discriminating as some, but I’ve enjoyed them as much as I have the dramas I’ve seen that were made in the late 2000’s.
Heyya Brenda! I want you to know, your comment resulted in SO MANY thoughts, that I wrote a whole post about this! So, thanks lots for your comment, and you can check out my thoughts in response, here! ^^
I loves Ho Goo’s Love. Such an adorable show, tackling various issues that we normally don’t see in dramaland.
I never paid attention to the things you mentioned for the show to be funny….in fact I think the show was more subtle and ‘I can smile over this’ instead of being laught-out-loud funny.. Except in some slapsticky scenes.
I wonder if you saw the complete back story between Ho too & Do Hee…because I loved it! The dynamics was different but I liked the chemistry… In fact that sunset scene was so beautifully done. But you can only judge all those scenes if you saw their story from start to finish becoz the drama peeled its layers gradually….
I liked Seulong a lot here…I only has complaint about his arc being rushed at the end…the trio of friends was totally funny…
In one word, this show is ADORABLE
A lot of grammatical errors as I’m typing from my mobile. Ufff.
Giggle. You are SO CUTE, snow! XD Thanks for coming back to clear up the typos, although, I was still able to understand your message without the clarification 😉
Aw, I’m glad you liked Ho Goo’s Love, my dear. I watched 10 episodes, so whatever backstory was revealed between Ho Goo and Do Hee in the last 6 episodes was stuff that I missed. Did I miss a lot, backstory-wise?
Sorry to hear that Kang Chul’s arc was rushed at the end.. He was a bright spot for me in the show, and I liked when the show allowed him more screen time. His crossed signals with Ho Goo were very funny, I thought. Eventually, though, even that got old for me. I guess this really is one of those times where the question of what we find funny is THE thing to determine our final response to a show. I mean, I found the trio of friends well-cast, but I honestly didn’t find their interactions funny, even though I knew it was meant to be funny. Maybe one day I’ll have a change of heart towards this show, since I’ve been known to have changes of heart before? ^^
Yep…we always see the episodes from different points of views and there is Do Hee’s as well…so you’ll have to see it…I’m not spoiling in case you change your mind later…haha… 😉
I agree with you that those extra-slapstick scenes didn’t make me laugh at all…(like that imaginary band etc) but the little interactions and the natural way characters are written was what made me love the show…plus, there weren’t any negative characters…and everyone was flawed…
But anyway, this is the beauty of kdramas…there is so much variety of opinions and views regarding the same project… 🙂
True, I can’t say for sure unless I’ve seen the show in its entirety, as you said. Maybe one day I’ll decide to give this show another try – I’ve learned to never say never, especially if lots of people like a show and I just don’t get it the first time!
I enjoyed the moments between characters that were more understated and heartfelt.. Those were the ones that kept me going for as long as I did. I just never managed to feel fully engaged with this show, somehow. Thankfully, dramaland is such that there are always more dramas to choose from! ^^v
Well, you know my track record with dropped dramas, so… 😀
I did finish this one but only because I was sorta indifferent to the stuff that didn’t work for you. I do agree thought that they did a pretty poor job in intergrating all the different moods and genres. That’s a knack that jdramas usually do much better. Korean humour mostly just makes me baffled as it’s very often not funny to me at all.
All in all, the more contemplative and quiet moments were those that worked best and that imho should have been the focus. This is probably an unpopular opinion but Korean romcoms often slip up with the execution and end up with no (or poorly done OTT) ‘com’ and hardly any ‘rom’.
Hahaha! Yes I DO know your track record with dropped dramas, Timescout! XD You drop ’em even more than I do, so I do feel like I’m in good company, at least!
Y’know, I’m not sure what it is.. Like, has dramaland in general gone a lot broader in its interpretation of funny, or has my taste & sense of humor evolved, or maybe it’s a bit of both.. Lately, I’m finding it hard to appreciate the humor in dramas. I find it all too campy and I constantly find myself wishing for more subtlety. I used to find dramas funny, though. I wonder what’s changed? Or, maybe it’s to do with the balance thing that you mentioned. I do feel like the emphasis has swung more towards the comedic side lately, whereas in the past, dramas were unabashedly more about the romance?
Well, the overall quality in kdramas has deterioted over the years so it’s no wonder if subtlety has in many dramas gone with the wind too.
It seems to me that the plots have often been dumbed down to the point they become more or less unwatchable.
It’s sad that more dramas are getting dumbed down nowadays.. but it’s also interesting that audiences still seem to enjoy these shows in spite of it. In fact, when I don’t take to a show because the comedy’s too broad, there’s usually someone who’ll tell me that they liked the show precisely because of the things that I don’t like about it. Which just goes to show that we are an audience of extremely varied tastes, eh?
At the same time, I do have to give credit where it’s due.. in spite of more meh offerings, dramaland has also turned out some shows that I’m genuinely impressed with, like SLA, which I find head and shoulders above almost all other dramas I’ve seen. In that sense, I’m happy to continue to see how dramaland experiments with its offerings.. Just, I’m personally hoping for less broad comedy, pretty please ^^
I guess it really comes down to what one finds enjoyable in a show. No matter how much flack a drama gets, there always seems to be some who genuinely like it and that’s ok by me. Each to their own, eh? 🙂
Yes, inspite of the dip in overall quality, there still are dramas worth watching and I’m glad about that. It’s just a pity one has to wade through so many unpalatable offerings to get to those.
Well, there’s broad comedy and then there’s nicely executed broad comedy. Unfortunately the latter is much harder to achieve. ^^
Oh, you are SO RIGHT. Nicely executed broad comedy is extremely tricky to achieve, and kudos to shows that actually manage to do it! I thought You’re Beautiful did that really well, actually. The first High Kick was pretty good at that too. And Vampire Idol as well. The more recent shows could stand to learn a lesson or two from some of the older shows, I think! ^^
De gustibus et ciloribus…I know, I know. I did wonder though, how it’s possible for anyone to ditch our Ho-Goo’s love *sad puppy eyes*…And you know the weirdest thing? I loved the show for all those reasons you didn’t! I can still remember my sister shouting rhythmical “Seul-ong, Seul-ong”- she was the last person who hadn’t known his name until Ho-goo ;-)!! We super-duper adored this drama and its love-triangle: Ho-Goo, Do-Hee and the chubby baby! ^^
Aw.. I wish I could’ve loved this show too, hariaharia! Choi Woo Shik as Ho Goo was very endearing, that’s for sure. I don’t know what it is, though.. Maybe I’m just not into broad comedy? I remember watching High School King of Savvy in a similar way.. trying to appreciate the humor, but failing miserably. And there were lots of people who enjoyed that show too, while I found myself in the “buh?” camp. Maybe one day I’ll change my mind about this show.. that’s been known to happen before. For now, though, I’m gonna have to put this in the “not for me” category.
I almost dropped this because of UEe’s blunt acting but tried to hang on because of Choi Woo Shik. I just love CWS! Award-winning actor! 😃😍
Hee. I couldn’t hang on with this one, even though I do have affection for CWS. This tells me that you are definitely a bigger CWS fan than I am, Evy! 😅