This is absolutely, positively adorable. <3
Given that our drama reality (what an oxymoron, eh? XD ) is such that the final product often doesn’t live up to its awesome teaser (I’m looking at you, Yong Pal), I’m extra blown away that Splash Splash Love doesn’t just live up to its very cute teaser, it actually surpasses it.
What are we doing right to deserve this, Dramaland? Coz I’d like to do it again. And then again. *hearts in eyes*
WHAT I LOVED
It’d be too easy – though accurate – to say that I loved practically everything in this little show. Here’s the quick rundown of my favorite highlights.
It’s so well-handled
Telling a story that feels robust and creating characters that feel fleshed-out, and developing said characters’ relationships in a believable way all takes some doing. I’ve come across way too many full-length dramas that have struggled to do that. Yet, 2-episode drama special Splash Splash Love makes it all seem so effortless.
First of all, I love the breezy fusion vibe. Show is so unabashedly fantasy fusion, and blithely messes around with history, while scored with modern tunes that range from cheerful pop to soft rock with an angsty edge. It’s so perfectly dissonant.
Second of all, I am really impressed with how well-paced this is. Instead of feeling like a highlight reel, everything feels real and the passing of time feels well-handled, despite Show’s very short run-time. Of course, the other upside of the short run-time, is the lack of filler. There’s just no time for it, literally.
Most of all, for all of Show’s breezy boppy fun, there’s a sense of depth and poignance about this story, and our characters’ emotions consistently feel believable and real. When they laughed, so did I, and when they teared up, I couldn’t help but tear up too. Just, so very dynamic and engaging.
Doo Joon as Lee Do
Doo Joon is gloriously handsome as Lee Do, and he plays the various facets of Lee Do – conflicted king, eager student and dorky tenderheart – equally well. On top of that, Doo Joon is a swoony, swoony king. Not only does he wear regality well, the intent, lingering gazes he levels at Dan Bi (Kim Seul Gi) are heart-stirringly melty.
I love what a dynamic character Doo Joon makes Lee Do, the king who would care enough about a girl, to throw royal decorum to the wind and literally run towards her. Swoon.
Kim Seul Gi as Dan Bi
I luff Kim Seul Gi in this. Given that she’s been consistently playing characters with distinct steely streaks, I found her portrayal of Dan Bi a refreshing change.
Coz Dan Bi is adorable and tiny and earnestly fresh-faced, and endearingly vulnerable. There’s a softness to her character that I found myself gravitating towards. I love that Dan Bi’s the sort of girl who feels so intently, and can’t help but wear her heart on her sleeve.
Plus, I love that she cares. I love that the set-up forces her to suddenly study coz her life depends on it, but through it all, I got the feeling that she’s trying so hard not just for her own sake, but for Lee Do’s too. Aw.
Doo Joon + Kim Seul Gi together
Doo Joon and Kim Seul Gi are super cute together, and have an easy, effortless, sparky sort of chemistry that’s a joy to watch, even when it’s just them squabbling over math.
They are clearly comfortable with each other, and Show takes full advantage of that by serving up large amounts of skinship. Hugs, kisses, more hugs; the great thing about it is, while Show is generous with the touchy, it doesn’t feel gratuitous. It actually feels organic to these characters and their story, which just makes it ten times better, really. The OTP connection feels real and robust, and I squee.
As a bonus, the OTP chemistry even gets dialed up to breathlessly electric at points. Very nice indeed.
Here’s just a small sampling of said OTP skinship. Not bad at all, amiright? 😉
WHAT I DIDN’T LOVE
Heh. Basically, the ONE thing I didn’t love, is that there isn’t more of Show to enjoy. 2 episodes is just so.. short!
Don’t get me wrong. I totally feel that Show is quite perfect and whole as it is. There aren’t any plot holes I have issues with, nor do I think that any character or relationship wasn’t fleshed out enough. It’s just, Lee Do and Dan Bi are so delightful together that I can’t help wanting more. I mean, who couldn’t use more of this adorable, right??
Eeee! Moar please!
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
Augh.. The poignance and wistfulness of our OTP as they prepared to say goodbye on the beach really tugged at my heartstrings. Their longing yet resolute parting was so touching and bittersweet. *Heart. Break.*
Happily, Show quickly regains its breezier vibe as Dan Bi finds her way around her old life, and reconnects with everyone that she’s missed. As for Dan Bi meeting Modern Lee Do, I actually like it. I think Show chose the best ending possible, given our fantasy set-up. Plus, Show smartly connects Past Lee Do with Present Lee Do, by having Past Lee Do promise to find Dan Bi, somehow, and then having Present Lee Do regard Dan Bi with recognition and remembrance in his gaze. I think that works out well for pretty much everyone, actually. 🙂
Of course, I wouldn’t have minded either, if Dan Bi had accepted Lee Do’s invitation to stay with him in Joseon. Seriously. With these two, I would’ve been happy with any ending, pretty much, as long as they got to live happily and adorably ever after together, while maybe riding into the sunset with smiles, hugs and more kisses. <3
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Goofy-grin-on-my-face delightful. Frothy fun with a lot of heart.
FINAL GRADE: A