I swear, I’m not being trigger-happy in dropping web drama High-end Crush. In fact, I have only the best intentions.
See, I need to preserve what’s left of my affection for Jung Il Woo.
When the show you’re watching only seems to make you like less and less, someone that you thought you liked quite well, isn’t it the wiser, better and nobler thing to do, to get out quick?
Coz, when you’re faced with the choice between one little web drama, and your feelings of goodwill towards Jung Il Woo, there’s just no contest, right?
STUFF THAT WAS OK
Given that I’m now consistently on the look-out for a short-format show that’s as fun and cracky as Noble, My Love, I figured I ought to check out High-end Crush.
After all, in spite of the generally mixed reactions I’d seen for this show, there was a sector of fans who really liked this.
Here’s a quick list of stuff that I thought was pretty alright:
1. Right from episode 1, I found the premise and execution predictable, but fairly pleasant. No big surprises, but nothing terribly bad about it either.
2. The short episodes made this an easy show to dip my toes into.
3. Show doesn’t take itself too seriously. Which, in theory, is a good thing.
…And that’s about it, unfortunately.
STUFF THAT DIDN’T WORK FOR ME
Missing X Factor
In terms of its strategy, High-end Crush reaches for a lot of the same things that Noble does. Tropey fluff, complete with a predictable aggravated first meeting between the leads, with our male lead grumpily fixating on the female lead thereafter, in spite of himself.
But, unlike Noble, High-end Crush doesn’t manage to achieve a cracky sort of flavor. The execution in this show always felt a little off, to me. I knew what Show was aiming for, but a lot of stuff just didn’t land for me the way I know was intended.
I’m gonna call that the missing X Factor.
Lack of OTP chemistry
While both Jung Il Woo and Jin Se Yeon played their roles competently, I didn’t actually believe either of them, in their respective characters.
I honestly felt like both actors were just going through the motions, somehow. Whether the characters were aggravated at each other &/or in a close-proximity sort of situation, I found it hard to buy into their supposed chemistry.
On a tangent, I concede that Sung Hoon wasn’t great with the acting in Noble either. But, he was very good with the intent smolder. That, and Noble’s execution also helped to make up for some of his delivery shortfall.
Neither of those things were present here. As I’ve mentioned, the execution left a lot to be desired. And Jung Il Woo didn’t get to do much smoldering, as far as I could tell.
It’s just not funny
Show is pretty broad in general, with comedy being the go-to tone for almost every scene.
The problem is, neither Jung Il Woo nor Jin Se Yeon are funny. In scenes where Se Hoon (Jung Il Woo) is supposed to be pompous or frustrated and Yi Ryung (Jin Se Yeon) is supposed to be annoyed, Jung Il Woo doesn’t manage to be funny-pompous or funny-frustrated, he just comes across as.. pompous and frustrated.
And Jin Se Yeon doesn’t come across as funny-annoyed, she just appears to be plain ol’ annoyed. Which, really, doesn’t help the Intended Funny.
As an experiment, I imagined Jung Kyung Ho and Jang Na Ra in these roles, since I’d just started watching One More Happy Ending at the time.
The thing is, in my head, with Jung Kyung Ho as Se Hoon, and Jang Na Ra as Yi Ryung, I could totally imagine them being funny – like, genuinely funny – in the same scenes, speaking the same lines. Which is why I honestly think casting is the problem here.
QUICK, LOOK AWAY
Ultimately, the straw that broke this camel’s
back resolve to finish this show was in episode 6, when I realized that this just wasn’t working out for me.
Essentially, Se Hoon spends a lot of time being shouty in episode 6 – even more so than in the previous episodes. And that just did not endear Jung Il Woo to me. Especially since his brand of shouty isn’t at all funny.
On the contrary, I found that as I watched the episode, whatever remaining affection I had for Jung Il Woo was, in fact, slipping away, in progressive can’t-come-back ripples. Every time he got shouty in episode 6, which was a lot of the time, I liked him less.
In fact, I had to remind myself that I liked Jung Il Woo – and yet, that didn’t do a thing to reverse the effect of all the shouty.
Which is how I concluded that it’s probably not a good idea for me to keep on watching this show.
I mean, it is possible that Show might turn it around in the later episodes, and I’d come away with my Jung Il Woo affection intact. Based on what I’ve seen so far, though, that’s just not a chance that I’m willing to take.
I’m sorry for not sticking this out, Jung Il Woo-sshi. It’s your project and you probably worked really hard in this. But think of it this way: I’m doing this for our future!