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!
Dropped this after episode 3. Noble and One Sunny Day were better.
Heh. Hi5 boink! We really do have similar drama tastes! I couldn’t finish this one, despite my affection for Jung Il Woo. I enjoyed Noble, and never got around to checking out One Sunny Day. Looks like I should, since you liked it! 😉
I did enjoy watching High End Crush, but it was mainly for Il-woo Jung to be honest. It would have worked out differently with another actress, I think… Noble wasn’t my cup of tea, sorry.
Anyway, my favourites from JIW are still Flower Boy Ramyun Shop and the Return of Iljimae…
Ah, I’m glad High-end Crush worked for you, noukina 🙂 Guess we all have different lenses and preferences with our dramas, so a drama that didn’t work for me would still work for many others 🙂 And yes, I absolutely loved Jung Il Woo in Return of Iljimae. I still consider that my favorite drama of his. He was excellent in it. ❤
Loved this one. Thought it was great 😉 Funny and endearing, and it’s the first time I actually liked Il Woo. On the contrary, didn’t like “Noble, My Love” at all. Had to skip through lots of scenes.
That’s such a classic example of different strokes for different folks, eh? XD I’m glad you enjoyed High-end Crush, unavis.. Anything that helps to increase your enjoyment of Jung Il Woo is a good thing, in my book. 😉 I’m a little sad that you didn’t like Noble, but I guess you can’t have everything! ^^
See, I’m not exactly sure why “Noble” didn’t rock my world, now that I think of it. I definitely watched several episode in their entirety. Hm… What I do remember, though, is that the first that popped into my head the minute I started watching it was, “Well, I can clearly see the difference in class (in terms of acting) between Il Woo and this guy.” And to me, that was a surprise in itself :))
Oh, I genuinely think Jung Il Woo’s a better actor than Sung Hoon, and by far, too! When I first watched Jung Il Woo in Return of Iljimae, I legit mentally crowned him as one of the brilliant actors on the k-scene. Sung Hoon, on the other hand, has been delivering performances that generally fall on the wooden side, from what I’ve seen. So it’s not because I think Sung Hoon did a better job, that I enjoyed Noble more. I think it was just the execution in Noble that worked for me, and Sung Hoon’s ability to smolder fit in nicely with what Show was doing.
As for High-end Crush.. somehow, it didn’t bring out Jung Il Woo’s best, at least, in the episodes that I did watch. And the execution was a little off-balance, for me. But that’s just my personal response, and doesn’t take away from the fact that High-end Crush was genuinely enjoyed by a sector of viewers. 🙂
I haven’t seen “Return of Iljimae”. Probably gonna check it out.
Oh yes, do put it on your list, if you’d like to see more of Jung Il Woo! It was his first leading role, and I thought he did a very impressive job. Particularly since he was only 21 when he did that show, and yet, managed to give his character a maturity and depth beyond his years. Return of Iljimae is more of a slow, mellow sort of watch, I think. I hope you enjoy it, unavis! 🙂
Let me ask you this: is it too tragic? 🙂 I sort of know what it’s about, but I haven’t read the plot on purpose.
No, it’s not tragic, and doesn’t have a typical everyone-dies sort of sageuk ending. In fact, it’s does an interesting thing, by starting the story in the present day. Which is a bit weird at first, but stay with it, and the story settles quite nicely.
I’d say, go into this with a lens that embraces personal growth and greater good as the bigger themes. Romance is present, but takes a backseat throughout, so if you go in looking for the romance, you’d likely be disappointed. The drama is beautiful to watch, though. Some lovely scenery, and the music is quite beautiful. There is an annoyingly weird character (Park Chul Min always tends to get these weird characters, seriously. If you’ve seen Warrior Baek Dong Soo, then, his character in Return of Iljimae is a little bit like his character in that one), but don’t let that turn you off the show. It’s a solid, worthy watch all the way through. 🙂
I stuck it out to the end though I did do a bit of fast forwarding. If this hadn’t been a short drama…no way. I also watched Noble all the way through. I like JIW and find him to be a good actor. Loved him in 49 Days and actually enjoyed him quite a bit in Unstoppable High Kick. I know he’s accepted a role in an upcoming drama and hope it works for him because he’s got to be coming up on military duty. I’m just kind of over the arrogant Korean male role that is so common in k-drama. There are times I wonder if the actors themselves aren’t sick of it.
Because people are mentioning Sung Hoon, I like him more when he is a supporting actor (though I’ll admit to being underwhelmed in Oh My Venus). I am enjoying Five Children so far though long family dramas are a challenge for me. So far, so good. I think he just needs to work on his craft and supporting characters probably are the way to go.
On a side note, the fashion that you mention was a distraction but a lot of commenters on the site I was watching it on loved it…different strokes and all that but I thought it was horrible. For me pants that are too short will always be me at 12 growing out of my jeans and not getting anymore until Christmas 😉
Hehe. You totally made me giggle with your description of your too-short pants from your tweenhood, Kat! XD I’m with you on this one.. The too-short pants as a fashion statement has been around for quite a while, and I still can’t fully appreciate the look. It just somehow looks more undignified to me, than fashion forward. 😛
And, you clearly love Jung Il Woo more than I do, since you managed to watch this one all the way to the end! I do find him a good actor, but his turn as a jerkwad chaebol just didn’t land well with me. Maybe it’s me; maybe I’m just way too over the jerkwad chaebol male lead. After several hundred kdramas, with many of them falling back on the same kind of jerkwad chaebol lead, I suppose it’s about time I got sick of it? XD Either way, I definitely hope his next drama will be good, and will showcase his acting range to good effect.
You’re so right that supporting characters are the way to go, when honing one’s craft. I do think Sung Hoon will benefit from being in a long family drama in a supporting role. He’ll get to learn a lot, I’m sure. And yes, I was rather underwhelmed by his outing in OMV too, even though I do think he’s easy on the eyes. 😉
I feel you I never got over the paper in the shoes… Yet I stuck it out and finished it. I thought the acting was good the script sucked and what was HighEnd But that’s me. How could they not just throw him in a pair of converse, doesn’t he have enough money to wear his own high end clothing
Lol! Yes, I was distracted by the too-short pants as well! I wonder why it’s such a thing, in K-fashion. Or maybe it’s more of a Thing than I realize.. I’m far from being cutting-edge when it comes to fashion, after all! XD Kudos to you for sticking it out, tho, Niichan! You’ve got more resilience than I have, looks like! 😉
I agree…I dumped High End Crush and Noble My Love–but Sung Hoon is improving by the minute in “Five Children”. He’s funny, and in a good way. Who knew that he could bring the humor?
Ooh, nice to know that Sung Hoon’s doing well in Five Children! Coz while I do enjoy his good looks, his tendency for wooden has definitely been a damper on how much I’m able to enjoy him on my screen. I didn’t care for his performance too much in OMV, even though I managed to enjoy Noble, My Love quite well in spite of his acting limitations. Who knows? This might be the start of a new chapter in Sung Hoon’s career – one where he not only brings the visuals, but is able to delight with his acting too! 🙂
Haha, I actually don’t care much for Jung Il Woo, but I found him quite funny in this. It’s definitely my favorite role of his. I find the drama fun enough. Nothing special, but I like the couple and the comedy. It’s quick and breezy. I’ve only got a few more episodes, and I think it was a nice little filler drama 🙂
I feel like I’m picking up 2 things from your comment, Kay. The first one being, humor. I often don’t find Korean Intended Funny all that funny, coz I typically don’t enjoy comedy that’s broad. Of course, there are exceptions, when I surprise myself by enjoying a show’s broad humor nicely. This wasn’t one of those times, unfortunately. The other thing is, perhaps, one’s expectations around Jung Il Woo. I loved him in Return of Iljimae, and even thought that he was rather brilliant in it. (That was a long time ago, so part of me wonders if I’d feel as impressed now, with more seasoned drama eyes.) I also loved him in 49 Days. Since then, though, I haven’t been too enamored with his other roles. I’m not sure why. But since I had higher hopes for Jung Il Woo than you probably did (since you never cared much for him prior), that probably fed into the equation too.
As always, different strokes for different folks and all that, but I did find your comment a great catalyst for some thought into the whys of it all. 🙂
That’s a really good point. Having low expectations concerning Jung Il Woo probably really did help my perception of him in this drama. 49 Days was my first drama with him, and I ended up preferring him in the scenes where they flash back to when he was alive, lol. Flower Boy Ramyun Shop was a cute drama, but I was pretty neutral concerning him.
I probably wouldn’t have even bothered with High End Crush except I heard of a few people really liking it, so I figured why not? And to my surprise, I liked him pretty well 🙂 Hoping I warm up to him in the upcoming Cinderella and the Four Knights too.
I didn’t want to hijack HyunnJi’s comment thread above, but wanted to mention One More Happy Ending. Yes, there is more of the pug 🙂 I heard a lot of people found it draggy too, but I only felt one lone episode was slow. Other than that, I really enjoyed it. But I agree, there are less shenanigans the second half. And Mi Mo is one of those characters that just NEVER admits her feelings and puts obstacles in her own path. Many people really dislike that. But I found that Jung Kyung Ho maintained his charm and was absolutely adorable with Jang Na Ra all the way through. I’m already picturing your “What I didn’t like” section though, lol 😉
I think the Jung Il Woo scene that left the deepest impression on me, in 49 Days, was the flashback to his death. I thought he was excellently nuanced and believable in that. So macabre, I know! XD Like you, I didn’t feel strongly about FBRS, despite the overwhelming netizen love for the show. I’ve been hoping that he’ll blow me away again, and even though I’ve been disappointed so far, I still hold out hope! So, I do still look forward to Cinderella and the Four Knights. But maybe I should do so with moderated expectations – y’know, to maximize my chances of actually enjoying him on my screen! XD
And YAY that the pug gets more screen time in OMHE!! I’ve been wondering about that, coz I LUFF PUGS, and no one else seemed to be talking about whether or not the pug gets more screen time. 😛 Glad to hear you enjoyed it quite well, almost all the way through, with the exception of that one episode. That does give me hope, coz I really want to like this one. I’m loving Jung Kyung Ho in it, and he’s got great chemistry with Jang Na Ra. But I can already guess how Mi Mo is going to be her own biggest obstacle to happiness – guess I can steel myself for it tho! That ought to help me make it safely past the finish line! XD
You know I had to agree with dropping anything that is not a good use of my drama time 🙂 however, I have also forced myself to give shows at least 5 episodes before giving up for good, or, sometimes I will just skip ahead like half the episodes and watch 15-25 minutes and see if they settled down, got better etc. I had to recommend to a friend who was getting bogged down to skip ahead before you got upset and she did. Then she was so glad because it turned out she LOVED that drama after all. Come to find out she had just gotten mad as heck over what the character had done hahahaha. BUT some one recommending that she give it one more go, from a new “angle” helped her past that spot. I am pretty sure I know what I do and what I don’t like more than any one else. every now and then I also realize I can get one track minded or miss the forest for the trees. YAY for drama buddies.
Hey there, peacwon! I very much agree that there’s definitely something to be said for giving a drama a second chance! Glad you managed to help your friend enjoy a drama that she would’ve otherwise dropped. 🙂
And what a nice way you have, of reminding me to check on the forest, just in case! Thank you. 🙂 I actually employ a pretty similar strategy to my drama-watching as what you described. I’m generally not trigger-happy when it comes to dropping shows, since I like to give the show a chance to win me over, and also give myself a chance to find a viewing lens that works for that particular show. I also usually skip ahead a little bit, to see if what I see on my screen makes me feel any different. I did all of those things for High-end Crush, but Show didn’t “make the cut,” so to speak.. I didn’t much like what I saw when I skipped ahead. After I’d decided to drop it, I dipped my toes into the final episode just to see what I’d missed, and I came away still convinced that this one just wasn’t for me. On the upside, yay for dramaland since there’re so many other dramas to pick from! 😉
“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. ”
I hope you review this one too! It could’ve been better but ultimately it worked for me. I’m curious what you think of it. And speaking of Jung Kyung Ho, I read he has a cameo in High End Crush, I searched for it bud nada! How was it if you’ve watch it?
He’s a reporter on tv in a couple episodes around the middle of the drama. I almost missed him the first time, but finally recognized his voice, lol
Hi there HyunnJi! It’s early days for me with One More Happy Ending.. I’m just done with E5 at the moment. I still like it, and fully intend to keep going with this one. Especially if the pug gets more screen time! (Does he??)
..I’ve also heard that OMHE gets draggy in the later stretch, so I’m approaching with a touch of caution. Am loving Jung Kyung Ho in it, and am cautiously optimistic that he will be enough to see me through to the end! 😉 If I end up dropping it, I’ll be sure to let you guys know via a Dropped post too, so there’s that? 😛
The female lead was so annoying that I haven’t returned after episode 1. I was only watching for Jung Il Woo, so thanks for the review, I’ll save my affection for him and hope to see him in something good.
Lol! I feel ya, Islander! (It’s great to see you again, too!) I will say, that there are folks who enjoyed this one, even though they seem to be in the minority. Most of my Twitter friends didn’t take to this one so well. If you actually liked Jung Il Woo in episode 1, then you should be ok to hang in there for his sake. But, if you’re like me and were more bemused than amused by his delivery in episode 1, then I’d say you’re better off waiting for another project. 🙂
My reaction was kind of the opposite of yours. I dropped Noble, My Love so I could maintain some affection for Sung Hoon. I watched all of High-End Crush just because Jung Il Woo saved it for me. I can’t stand Jin Se Yeon and I agree about the missteps of High-End Crush, but I thought Jung Il Woo was adorably funny in spite of the material. Different strokes for different folks.
Different strokes for different folks indeed! 🙂 Glad High-end Crush worked out for you, even though you don’t enjoy Jin Se Yeon.. I failed to see the adorable funny, which is too bad. I’m pretty sure, though, that pressing on wouldn’t have been the answer, for me. 😛
Exactly. I find that pressing on after you have that “this isn’t working for me” moment never really pays off. Even if other people feel that a show gets better or redeems itself in the end, I’ve never been able to get over that disappointing moment when I knew I had had enough of that show.
SO TRUE! Very wise words indeed. Y’know what, joy, I think you might’ve just helped me reach a decision on whether or not to press on, with CITT. Thanks!! 🙂
I didn’t start CITT until after it had ended and I had read all about the controversy. I was curious and really wanted to see Park Hae Jin’s performance, but I didn’t expect to make it past ep 8. Well, surprisingly enough, I just finished ep 12, and I’m still on board. Yes, I can see why a lot of people bailed, but it is still giving me enough of what I like that I’ll start ep 13. I have no idea whether I’ll make it to the end. The one thing I know is that there are too many great dramas out there to spend time on one that is no longer satisfying me personally.
Ooh. Intriguing! As in, aside from you (possibly, if you reach the end?), I only know of one other person who actually liked the show for what it ended up being. I don’t love the show, but from the get-go, I could feel it was well-made and different. My interest has been pretty moderate all these 8 eps, and mostly that interest comes from my head rather than my heart. But, you still being on board at E12 is giving me pause. Maybe I’ll give CITT a little more time before I make a decision! Thanks Joy! 😀
I finished CITT last night because it did keep me interested until the last ep, but I did NOT like the show for what it ended up being. In fact, I felt just as betrayed by the show as most of the other people I’ve heard from. In spite of all the warnings, I didn’t really expect the show to treat the audience the same way Jung treated his victims, but without the same excuses. However, I don’t regret watching it because I got a lot of pleasure from the performances while learning exactly how the PD can betray the actors and audience with incomprehensible editing decisions.
Aww, joybran, I’m sorry you didn’t care for the last few episodes of CITT. Like I mentioned before, I easily see why people were upset, but I still liked the the ending eps. I’m glad you don’t regret watching it though 🙂
I also like High End Crush and find Jung Il Woo funny in it (and I usually don’t care much for him, so that was a surprise). It’s been a pretty fun little drama!
Kay, I’m glad your review encouraged me to watch CITT and decide for myself. Even though the final episode infuriated me for several reasons, the series did keep me interested for 15 eps. Like Jung Il Woo’s performance made High End Crush worthwhile for me, the performances of the three leads in CITT made the series worth my time.
There is a difference between suffering through a drama that is giving you nothing in hopes that it will get better, and finding something to like in a drama that ultimately fails to deliver what it seemed to be promising. Even though tastes differ, other people’s opinions can help you decide what YOU might find worthwhile. Like peacwon says below, “YAY for drama buddies.”
Thanks for letting me know how you ended up feeling about CITT, joy! I really appreciate it! Sorry your watch ended on a less than happy note, but yay for the silver lining that you enjoyed the actors’ performances, at least.
I’m still in the process of coming to a decision about my own watch. I started on E9 and realized that I felt rather disengaged in general. I’m going to give it another go, just in case it was a mood thing on my part. At the moment, though, I will say it’s not looking all that promising, that I’ll make it to the finish line! XD