The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Review: Oh Hae Young Again [Another Oh Hae Young]

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THE SHORT VERDICT:

More than – and therefore possibly mis-marketed as – a typical rom-com, this show possesses a sensitive, thoughtful core that tends to lean melancholic. Empathetic writing, tender directing, and some outstandingly dig-deep acting come together to bring out the beauty inherent in the melancholy, and it’s quite remarkable to behold.

A deft comic hand to manage the broad comedic elements, a solid supporting cast, and a gorgeous OST round out this show’s appeal.

Not perfect, to be sure, but so worth the watch.

THE LONG VERDICT:

If you’ve known me for a while, or poked around the blog a bit, you’d probably have heard me talk about the importance of the viewing lens, (maybe more than) a little bit. Essentially, that the viewing lens we choose can make or break a watch, pretty much.

I mean, the choice of viewing lens is always important, but it hit me that with this show, that choice of viewing lens is maybe even more important than usual. Coz with the right lens on, there is so much to love in this show. Like seriously, So Much.

STUFF I LIKED LOVED

Typically, I tend to dive pretty quickly into characters and relationships in my reviews, but this show – more than in any other show in recent memory – serves up so much finesse on a macro level that I just want to talk about all that good stuff right away.

1. General tone and feel

I feel that perhaps marketing this show as a rom-com may have been a disservice.

Don’t get me wrong. There is Funny in this show, and for the most part, that Funny even landed well, for me. Right away from episode 1, I loved that Show manages the balance between heavy and light in what feels like an effortless and natural manner. The shifts in tone don’t feel jarring, even though the tonal range is relatively wide. There’s physical gag humor at play, and there’re also more somber moods coming to the fore, and it’s all merged together quite seamlessly. Perhaps it should come as no surprise that PD-nim also directed Marriage Not Dating, another show that did a fine job of merging serious with silly.

The thing is, the balance shifts about midway through the show, and the spots of Silly diminish in a fairly extended fashion, to make room for the Sad. Which could be bemusing, if you’re in it for the Funny.

Because I’d consistently resonated more with Show’s poignant and melancholic underbelly, however, this shift in tone and emphasis didn’t bother me. In fact, I actually really appreciated the sensitivity with which Show handled the emotional landscape of our main characters. More on that in a little bit.

2. The OST

I love-love-lurve the OST of this show, and genuinely feel like the music PD should be given an award or something.

The OST tracks generally have an acoustic, indie sort of feel to them, and are applied with an expert, tender hand. Across Show’s broad spectrum of feels, the music is consistently evocative, immersive, and for the most part, really pretty. Possibly my favorite thing about the OST, is how it’s used to score the sadder scenes; the tracks chosen manage to be lilting and haunting, while still remaining pretty, with just a touch of wistful.

So good. Love.

Oh Hae Young Again OST – 나 심심하다 진짜…

3. General sensitive handling of characters

You know how many rom-coms these days use certain stock scenes to communicate with the audience? Like, to show us that a character is troubled, shows tend to serve up broody drinking scenes &/or broody showers &/or angsty shouting at the banks of the Han River.

Not so this PD-nim. In fact, there are times when I stop to marvel at just how artful, brilliant and tender PD-nim is, in caring for these characters and presenting their stories.

[SPOILER ALERT]

I was particularly wowed by this scene (above) in episode 12, when Do Kyung (Eric) is deeply troubled. PD-nim presents him framed in the grassy land, just lying among the greenery and losing himself in the sound of the wind, before then sinking into a series of visions. I saw this and thought to myself, That’s exactly the kind of thing Do Kyung would do. Not a broody shower, nor shouting it out at the Han River, but losing himself in the sound of the wind.

So thoughtful, and Just. So. Perfect. ❤

[END SPOILER]

4. Show’s understanding of emotional pain

One of the things in this show that left the deepest impression on me, is how everyone involved in making this show – from PD-nim, to writer-nim, to the actors (Seo Hyun Jin in particular) – clearly understands emotional pain. That intimacy and familiarity with emotional pain shows through with profound depth and nuance in our characters’ pain, which all feels so raw and so, so real.

I know not everyone experiences heartache and heartbreak the same way, but I have to admit, Show’s portrayal of Hae Young’s pain (Seo Hyun Jin) hit home, and hard, because I’ve felt all those feelings before. My pain didn’t manifest itself in precisely the same behaviors, but I can’t deny that at my most hurt and most broken, that was exactly how I felt. Exactly.

Major props and deep respect to everyone involved, seriously.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Show demonstrates its deep understanding of pain and how we as humans respond to it, so many times in the course of its run, in the bigger moments, as well as the smaller ones.

In episode 8, Hae Young frets about seeing her ex-fiance Tae Jin (Lee Jae Yoon) coz she hasn’t washed her hair. It’s such a tiny, almost throwaway sort of remark, but it’s so real, relatable and true to life. That’s totally the kind of thing a girl would think about, if she had to meet her Ex without notice.

In episode 11, when Hae Young finds out that Do Kyung is the cause of her wedding being called off, her behavior in episodes 11 through 13 swing between the two extremes of wanting Do Kyung back, and wishing pain &/or death on him and everyone else too. That’s such a believable and human response. I mean, it’s not commendable, but it’s human. She rationalizes on Do Kyung’s behalf; she lashes out at him when she really does want him to come to her; she wants to hear that he loves her, but can’t bring herself to ask him about it.

Episode 12 is where it first occurred to me that everyone involved in making this show understands intimately what it means to be abandoned by someone, and to hurt so bad that you want to die. The things that Hae Young says, about wanting Do Kyung to be in a lot of pain, of wanting to kill him, and yet missing him and wanting to be with him, are spot on. That’s exactly how you feel when you’ve been abandoned by someone that you love.

Episode 13 is where I thought to myself, that writer-nim is clearly someone who’s been deeply heartbroken before. I identified so much, with Hae Young as she drags herself through the aftermath of her break up with Do Kyung. That constant pain in your heart that just won’t go away; the way your mind keeps homing in on the person who broke your heart like a magnet to metal; the way your heart just won’t stop loving that person, even as it beats, in tatters; the way you kind of want to hurt in other ways, and just drown in the pain of it all. I can’t say that all people hurt the same way, or even that I’d hurt the same now, if my heart were broken again. But that was exactly how I felt the last time my heart got majorly broken, and seeing all of these nuances play out in Hae Young, felt so raw and real.

Altogether wonderfully sensitive and quite masterful, really.

Consistently, Show’s portrayal of Hae Young’s pain and her response to it is believable and human. Sure, it creates a flawed heroine whose behavior is sometimes hard to condone. At the same time, though, this is part of what makes her feel so real.

[END SPOILER]

5. Show’s use of sound 

Given that Do Kyung is a sound PD, I thought Show’s use of sound was extra meaningful. I love that thoughtfulness and obvious care, of taking something integral to a character, and finding a way to make it narratively significant.

[SPOILER ALERT]

As early as episode 4, sound starts to take on importance in our story, as Hae Young moves into the room next door to Do Kyung’s apartment. Even though there’s a door that separates their living quarters, it really does feel like Do Kyung and Hae Young are living in the same space, since they can hear each other’s lives so clearly, and can even shout through the wall to each other.

As Show built on that, I grew to love the intimacy of sound. It’s fascinating how close the connection between Do Kyung and Hae Young living next door to each other feels, when it basically revolves around sound.

That they can hear each other, at the most intimate times, and respond to each other, is positively alluring. That he can hear her playing with the lamp switch while she lies in bed, and tell her to keep it down; that they can have this mundane, everyday, spousal-esque sort of conversation, which sometimes feels like pillow-talk, almost, feels so intimate. They are completely separated from each other, connected purely by sound, and it’s spine-tingly, personal stuff.

Augh. I love it.

[END SPOILER]

Oh Hae Young Again OST – 꿈처럼

SPOTLIGHT ON (JUST A FEW OF) THE CHARACTERS

1. Seo Hyun Jin as Hae Young

I love Seo Hyun Jin. I loved her since I first set eyes on her in The Three Musketeers, and I continued to love her in Let’s Eat 2, and I even sought her out in King’s Daughter Soo Baek Hyang. She’s just got this warm, relatable quality about her that I really enjoy.

Much as I’ve loved Seo Hyun Jin in her previous shows, I hafta say, she totally blew it out of the water in this show.

I am so impressed with Seo Hyun Jin’s portrayal of Hae Young. She makes Hae Young so earthy and relatable and likable and normal, yet special. She’s easy to relate to as the everygirl who just can’t catch a break; it’s easy to see that Hae Young’s bluster and bravado is all for show, and in the fleeting moments of vulnerability, we see that she’s just a girl who wants to be happy.

When Hae Young is in pain, her tears spill over like they’re incidental to her pain, not as if they’re something that an actress is aiming to produce. The tears never feel like the point; the pain does. And that’s great acting.

Seo Hyun Jin is so natural in character that I barely even remember that she’s in character and that Hae Young is not a real person. She is Hae Young, raw and honest, in all of her flawed glory, and I can’t help but love her.

[SPOILER ALERT]

She’s resilient and easily happy

Even though I kinda hate how the people around Hae Young tend to treat her poorly and make fun of her while comparing her to the other Hae Young (Jun Hye Bin), I love that Hae Young never actually wants to be the other Hae Young. I love that statement that she makes in episode 3, where she says that she likes herself, and just wants to be a better version of herself. I love that she likes herself, in spite of all that she’s been through, being snubbed for the other, prettier, more popular Hae Young.

In episode 6, Hae Young leaves in an offended huff to her friend Hee Ran’s (Ha Si Eun) place when she realizes that Do Kyung’s been privy to all her ultra-personal musings, thanks to his recording equipment. There’s something very endearing about the way Hae Young bounces out of bed and heads right on home with a smile on her face, when Do Kyung texts her to go home and sleep, and that he won’t say anything. I mean, she’d been put in a very embarrassing situation, and yet, one text from Do Kyung is enough to shake off the bad vibes and put her in a cheery mood. Gotta love such an easily happy kinda girl.

Seriously, when Hae Young is happy, it’s infectious and just puts a goofy smile on my face. Like in episode 14, when she’s so beside herself with giddy joy at Do Kyung’s confession, that she doesn’t know what to do with herself except lie on the floor and flail, literally. So cute, and so perfect. ❤

She loves fearlessly

A core part of Hae Young’s charm is the all-in way that she loves. It might appear unseemly to give herself and her love so wholeheartedly without reserve or caution, but I love that she is so uncalculated in her love. We see this throughout the show, in the way that she consistently opens her heart to Do Kyung without reserve. In episode 15, when she actually tries to be more calculating, it just makes her miserable.

In episode 16, the other Hae Young describes Hae Young as fearlessly honest, and that, in a nutshell, describes Hae Young perfectly, in the way that she approaches love. She loves honestly and fearlessly, and it’s admirable and quite exceptional.

[END SPOILER]

2. Eric as Do Kyung

Compared to other male leads in dramaland, Do Kyung is far from typical. He’s possibly the most introverted, taciturn, melancholic male lead I’ve seen in a kdrama. Despite his changing narrative circumstances, Do Kyung retains this restrained quality about him all the way through to the end of the show. Yet, Eric manages to make Do Kyung sympathetic, and a character that I wanted to root for. That’s a pretty solid accomplishment, in my books.

I’ve come across comments that Eric basically phoned in this performance, and that he wasn’t as emotionally present as Seo Hyun Jin in the role. I can see where these types of comments are coming from, since Do Kyung often wears a deadpan expression, and doesn’t betray much of what he’s feeling.

In Eric’s defense, I don’t think that it’s that Eric isn’t as emotionally present as Seo Hyun Jin in the role. I think it’s that his acting simply isn’t as nuanced as hers. Do Kyung appearing less than 100% emotionally-present even in our OTP’s happier times is, in my estimation, because of Do Kyung’s reticent character and his unique set of concerns and worries.

Could Do Kyung have been delivered with more nuance? Sure. Did I feel invested in Do Kyung’s journey, and feel vicarious satisfaction at his growth, in spite of the limitations in Eric’s delivery? Absolutely. Considering the fact that acting isn’t Eric’s primary job, I’d say that he gave a solid performance as Do Kyung.

[SPOILER ALERT]

He cares

For all his reserved tendencies, Do Kyung is someone who cares deeply for the people around him, from his mother, to his siblings, to his staff. We see him over-extend himself to help others, even when it’s his Awful Mother (Nam Ki Ae) asking to borrow money for the millionth time.

I love when that care starts to extend towards Hae Young, because the way he demonstrates more and more care towards her, functions like a barometer for just how high Hae Young has crept, in importance to him. Sure, in the beginning, Do Kyung’s niceness towards Hae Young is driven by guilt, but that soon evolves to become genuine concern for her, for herself.

I love how Do Kyung remembers all the little details that Hae Young spills when she’s telling him about her experiences and feelings, in her rambling sort of way. I love that he complimented her in episode 4 that she looked pretty when she was eating, coz it’s based on him remembering that her fiance had told her he couldn’t stand the sight of her eating. So thoughtful and sweet. And I love that in episode 5, when Hae Young jumps into his arms as his “date,” he chooses to go along with her act, even though he really doesn’t want to, and it makes him look weird to his staff, to boot. Heh.

I love how Do Kyung shows up with drinking snacks at Hae Young’s door so that they can drink to her birthday. It’s completely adorkable and very endearing. His birthday gift of a music box, so that she won’t have to listen to the laughing toy, is also so perfectly personal. He’s been getting to know her, just by listening to the sounds of her life, and it’s again, so perfect.

He grows

Hands-down, the most satisfying arc in Do Kyung’s journey as a character, is how he learns to become proactive instead of reactive, in living his life.

When he first starts seeing his visions, Do Kyung’s response is to contemplate it almost like an observer, and then just wait for the vision to actually manifest for real. His attitude is fatalistic, even when the visions indicate that he’s going to die. He doesn’t attempt to do anything to try to avoid it, and just states it as a matter of fact, that he’s going to die.

On a related tangent, this is, in my estimation, why Do Kyung appears less than 100% emotionally present even in our OTP’s happier times. There is a sense of foreboding hanging over him, and he can’t fully let go and enjoy the happy, because in his head, there’s a real possibility that he is going to die, and possibly, soon. The thoughts of the potential ramifications that would have on Hae Young are probably what’s troubling him. Eric’s sad eyes, and general sheen of melancholy, are a sobering reminder of Do Kyung’s potential death, even when Do Kyung and Hae Young are enjoying happy times together.

What I do appreciate, though, is that even though Do Kyung believes he is going to die, he begins to take a more proactive approach towards his visions. Like in episode 8, when he goes searching for Hae Young out of concern for her, based on clues from his vision of her.

What I like most, in all of this, is that Do Young’s a repressed soul endeavoring to love.

There’s something beautiful about that, coz he’s not looking to be loved, but looking to love. He’s working so hard to figure out his visions, not so much for himself, since he seems rather fatalistic by nature, and doesn’t even seem to derive much joy out of life. Rather, he’d doing it for Hae Young; for the love of Hae Young; so that Hae Young would be loved more. He doesn’t want her to hurt. He doesn’t want to regret not loving her more. And that earnest effort, to give more love, is beautiful. ❤

[END SPOILER]

3. Jun Hye Bin as the Other Hae Young

It would’ve been easy for Show to serve up a stock second female lead who’s easy to hate, but instead, Park Hae Young writer-nim (seriously, that’s her name!) creates a character who turns out to have almost as much dimension as our main couple.

Like our heroine, the other Hae Young is flawed and displays motivations and behavior that is dubious at times. Yet, writer-nim takes care to give her a journey of realization and growth, so that by the end of the show, I genuinely found her a likable character.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Rather than malicious, the other Hae Young is guilty only of being careless and self-centered. She seems oblivious to how her words affect other people, and therefore comes across as presumptuous. Like the time in episode 8, when she approaches Hae Young and tells her that she’ll be seeing Do Kyung for a while. Her ending question isn’t “Is that okay?” but “That’s okay, right?” And that says a lot.

And what about the time in episode 11, when she realizes that Do Kyung had ruined Hae Young’s wedding thinking that it was her wedding, and actually tearfully, sincerely, thanks Do Kyung. Her self-centeredness never shone more clearly than in that moment.

Yet, from that pretty damning sort of place, Show manages to effectively paint the other Hae Young as just another wounded soul trying to be happy. I appreciate the thought that went into creating her character, making her someone who’d felt inferior to Hae Young, who had been raised with love and had a mom who cared.

I liked watching the other Hae Young’s journey of realization; of recognizing her faults and working not only to make amends, but to get closure on her relationship with Do Kyung, and to be a better person.

Kudos to writer-nim for creating one of the most effectively sympathetic second female leads in dramaland, and to Jun Hye Bin for delivering her with earnestness and care.

[END SPOILER]

4. Lee Jae Yoon as Tae Jin

In terms of our 4 leads, I feel like Lee Jae Yoon got the shorter end of the stick, comparatively speaking.

While Tae Jin gets some dimension, he isn’t nearly as rounded out as our 3 other main characters, and gets relegated to mostly being a plot device. The silver lining is, at least he gets occasional spots of depth, even as a relatively flat character.

Credit to Lee Jae Yoon for delivering the role with commitment, even though there was less to work with.

[SPOILER ALERT]

All in all, Tae Jin is written as a weak person, character-wise. That saying about people being like tea bags is so true of him; it’s only when he’s been in hot water that you get to see what he’s made of.

That he blames the noraebang staffer in episode 15 for making (“making”!) him say that awful thing to Hae Young; that he is vengeful; that he seems to take a vindictive sort of sick pleasure from beating up Do Kyung. All of that reveals his weakness of character.

His only saving grace is his joyless participation in ruining Do Kyung in return. I even sort of understood his rationale in pushing on despite the lack of satisfaction: the need to protect his reputation and pride. I appreciated this detail, coz it gave Tae Jin a welcome touch of complexity, as a character.

To Lee Jae Yoon’s credit, there were several times in the show that I felt that his delivery added depth and dimension to Tae Jin.

Like the time in episode 7, when Tae Jin first approaches Hae Young after getting out of prison. Lee Jae Yoon imbues Tae Jin’s expression with just enough of a gentle hopefulness, that in that moment, I sort of wanted him to have a second chance with her.

And then there’s Tae Jin’s meltdown in the car, in episode 11, when he realizes that the guy who put him behind bars (or so he thinks) is now dating Hae Young. Lee Jae Yoon plays the scene with a perfect mix of incredulous laughter morphing into crazed frustration and anger. Very impressive – even if a bit alarming – I thought.

[END SPOILER]

Special shout-outs:

Ye Ji Won as Soo Kyung

I’ve been noticing Ye Ji Won more and more lately – her fantastic turn as the crazy-breathy-sexy office manager in Producer stands out in my memory, in particular – and I hafta say, she is Absolutely, Positively Fabulous. She tends to take quirky characters and breathe life into them, while making them completely unforgettable.

Here, she’s blithely outrageous as larger-than-life Soo Kyung, which makes her character all kinds of fun to watch. Yet, as Show gives her character room to breathe, Ye Ji Won imbues Soo Kyung with quiet layers of vulnerability that I found quite mesmerizing.

[SPOILER ALERT]

I love the fact that at her heart, Soo Kyung is both strongly protective yet delicately fragile. The most arresting moments involving Soo Kyung, I feel, are when we get to see her be both, at the same time.

In later episodes, we see both of these dimensions at play, when Soo Kyung’s swift to protect Jin Sang (Kim Ji Suk) as the father of her baby, and yet, struggles with her fears and insecurity at the uncertain future that her newly topsy-turvy world holds for her and her child.

There’s a moment in episode 15 when Soo Kyung’s pretending to be drunk in order to numb the pain, and we catch a glimpse of her eyes in the midst of the crazy hair. The fragility that shines through the tears welling up in her eyes, speaks volumes about Soo Kyung’s troubled heart.

Oof. So quietly profound.

And then there’s the scene in episode 16, when Soo Kyung, honorable woman that she is, sends Jin Sang packing with his stuff because she can see how conflicted he is about their situation. The way she sends him off, with tough words on her lips, but tears in her eyes, is exactly that unexpected mix of protectiveness and vulnerability in one.

Ye Ji Won is completely wonderful as Soo Kyung, and the more we got to know Soo Kyung, the more I really, really liked her.

[END SPOILER]

Kim Mi Kyung as Hae Young’s Mom

Kim Mi Kyung is another actress that I’ve come to love. Even though I will always remember her best as our favorite brilliant hacker ahjumma (Healer-ya~!), I love that she breathes life into every character she plays.

I loved her here, as Hae Young’s always gruff, sometimes violent, but ultimately caring mom.

I’ll admit that I sometimes winced at Mom’s violent ways, particularly when berating Hae Young, but Show took care to unveil her deeper heart, and that intense love for her daughter that she kept hidden at her core, moved me.

Plus, Mom automatically won points for being so fiercely protective of her daughter in the face of criticism by others, even though she berated her own daughter in private.

[SPOILER ALERT]

There are two points in the show where Mom really moved me.

The first, is when Mom sobs at home and asks Dad (Lee Han Wie) if they can just bring Hae Young home. I’d been stunned when Mom and Dad had basically kicked Hae Young out of the house without warning. That had seemed really extreme, but I got that they just couldn’t bear to see her carry on the way she was.

But that moment, when Mom sobs in regret and asks to bring Hae Young home, is so poignant. This is Mom’s inner heart peeking out, and I found it really touching.

The other moment that really sticks in my mind, is Mom’s voiceover in episode 16, where she talks about how she really feels about Hae Young.

“…I hate her because she takes after me. And I love her because she takes after me. Why do people with big hearts always lead such sad lives? Because she has such a big heart that crazy girl will experience all the hardships that I’ve been through. That’s why I hate her… and love her. At this crazy girl who brings a can she’s been kicking into the house simply because she couldn’t throw it away… I used to get so upset. Then I would find it adorable.

That crazy girl who is pouring her heart out after falling head over heels in love with this guy. I don’t know why it makes me tear up. Would I feel less sad if I take her side and cheer her on? Instead of discouraging and shutting her down would I feel a little less sad if… she had someone cheering her on?”

I love the insight we get, of how Mom feels about her daughter Hae Young. It changes a lot, to know that she’s so hard on Hae Young because she sees herself in Hae Young, and wants Hae Young to avoid making the same mistakes that she made. I love how she admits in her voice-over, that she hates her daughter, but loves her too. That complex manifestation of her love for Hae Young is sweet, even amid the poignant sadness that Mom feels as she watches her daughter give freely of herself with no thought to her own dignity or pride.

Mom wishes that things were different, but ultimately, chooses to support Hae Young anyway, and that’s part of what makes her awesome. I love Awesome Mom. ❤

[END SPOILER]

Nam Ki Ae as Do Kyung’s Mom

Awful Mom is a right piece of work, and stands out even in a sea of bad kdrama moms. Not only is she self-centered, materialistic and money-minded, she leeches off her children, while alienating them and meddling in their lives, all at the same time.

Ugh. I hated Awful Mom. Which, really, means that Nam Ki Ae did a really good job of the role.

Plus, through all of her scenes, she managed to make Awful Mom come across as vain and entitled, yet immature and girlish, like someone who’d never quite grown up, and truly didn’t understand what she’d done so wrong. Gotta admit, that’s a pretty complex delivery for a character who could’ve been relatively stock.

Well done, Awful Mom. I still don’t like you though, for the record.

Oh Hae Young Again OST – 어쩌면 나

SPOTLIGHT ON (A FEW OF) THE RELATIONSHIPS

1. Our OTP: Hae Young & Do Kyung

I know this OTP didn’t work for everyone, but – as you’ve probably guessed by now – this OTP worked for me, and very well too.

Granted, both characters are painted as flawed, and that does give rise to some unhealthy behavior during the course of the show. But, for the most part, these two do each other good. Hae Young forces Do Kyung out of his shell, while Do Kyung helps Hae Young to appreciate her worth. They are better together than apart, and that alone would’ve been enough for me to want to root for them as a couple.

Add on the ease and chemistry that Seo Hyun Jin and Eric share onscreen, though, and I felt deeply invested. Almost personally so.

Plus, I do love that the connection between Do Kyung and Hae Young solidifies and grows stronger in a very organic way. Their closeness increases by small degrees, in the kind of way that when you look back, it’s like, wow, they’ve come a long way, and you have to really think about how it all came about, since it happened so gradually. That’s caring, careful writing, and I dig it very much.

[SPOILER ALERT]

They help each other

Like I mentioned earlier, Hae Young and Do Kyung are good together, more often than not. One of the earliest instances of this in the show, is in episode 3, where Hae Young’s sadness all comes spilling out, when she cries in Do Kyung’s living room.

She rambles about the time in high school when she’d voted for herself for Class President, so that she’d have at least one vote. She ends her rambling with tears in her eyes, saying she doesn’t want to be the other Hae Young.

Hae Young: “I… still love myself the way I am. I only want myself to do well.” … “I wish someone could tell me that it was no big deal. The fact that I was dumped the day before my wedding… It’s no big deal. You wouldn’t tell me that, huh?”

Do Kyung: “How can it be no big deal? It feels like the whole world just sentenced you to death. It feels like getting kicked out of the universe. Where you’re not welcome anymore… but it feels like you still have to bend over to live. How is it no big deal ? I… got dumped on the day of my wedding.”

It guts me, that she has all this pain bottled up inside, and tries so hard to smile, on the outside. Those are such honest words, that she speaks to Do Kyung, when she’s at her lowest and crying.

Even more than that, I love that moment of honesty, when Do Kyung finally opens up a little, and empathizes with what Hae Young’s been through. That he’s able to articulate the nuances of the pain, must do so much. And, the fact that he tells her that he was dumped on the wedding day itself – that’s huge. That’s a meeting of wounded souls, right there. I love that this sense of solidarity gives Hae Young a much-needed turbo-charge, in forging forward to live her life to the best of her ability.

As time passes, I love that Do Kyung starts to look out for Hae Young and care about her, not necessarily as a woman, but first and foremost, as a person. Yet, in the process of caring for Hae Young and being around her, he can’t help but feel affected by her. I love his voiceover at the end of episode 4: “It feels like that woman keeps on unraveling me. It’s like she’s telling me, ‘Stop being miserable, and let’s be happy together.'”

I love that even though they are similarly hurt, that Hae Young isn’t inviting Do Kyung to wallow together and just become one big pain fest together. I love that even in her own pain, in spite of the fact that she’s still hurting, she’s drawing him out of his world of misery. She practically forces honesty and expression from him, and I love that she’s the only one who’s able to bring out unbridled laughter in him.

On the other hand, I love that Do Kyung doesn’t allow Hae Young to shortchange or cheapen herself. In episode 10, post-kiss, I appreciate that Do Kyung doesn’t give in to Hae Young’s motel train of thought, and says that they’ll sleep together at a nice place another time. In effect, he’s telling her – and showing her – that she’s more precious than she thinks she is.

They feel natural and organic

One of my favorite things about this couple, is how natural and organic their interactions are presented to be.

One thing I really enjoyed, is how their living situation evolves to be like that of roommates, with her nonchalantly moving between her space and his, as she fixes breakfast and instructs him to eat, like she does in episode 5.

Additionally, I love that when things turn romantic between them, that they take time for simple everyday feels. Like how they soak in each other’s presence in episode 14 (above), just looking at each other and trying on their new ways of addressing each other. Mmph. Such understated, charming, everyday sort of sweetness.

I really like that they talked it out, particularly about Do Kyung addressing Hae Young by name. That he didn’t, because he was afraid that she’d hear the other Hae Young’s presence in her name, is thoughtful of him. That she still wants to hear him call her name, and promises to hear only her name, is Hae Young being true to herself. She shouldn’t be shortchanged of the pleasure of hearing her name on the lips of the man she loves, just because she isn’t the only Oh Hae Young he’s known.

I love that we get to see them working through these simple, fundamental things. ❤

Their skinship is so sexy

It’s partly in the unbridled ease that Seo Hyun Jin and Eric have with each other onscreen, even in very close proximity; it’s partly in how full-on and committed both actors are, in immersing themselves in the moment; it’s partly in PD-nim’s thoughtful, sensitive direction. All of these come together to create OTP skinship that feels natural, believable and melt-to-the-floor sexy, to the point of almost feeling voyeuristic.

As if that isn’t enough, Show goes one step further, and gives it all meaning and nuance, so that the OTP skinship isn’t there in and for itself, or simply to create audience squee, but becomes an extension of expression, in terms of where these two characters are, with each other.

Like this kiss, in episode 10:

All the emotion and desire for Hae Young that Do Kyung’s kept bottled up all this time, comes rushing out in sexy-aggressor moves when he pulls the chair toward him, Hae Young along with it, and kisses her with ardently sensuous kisses.

Swoon.

And then there’s this kiss, in episode 13:

Post-breakup, after the intense misery of being apart from each other, and not seeing any possible way they would be able to hold each other again, there’s a palpable hunger and relief, and these two hold each other, and kiss each other, like it’s the first time in forever.

I literally felt a vicarious sense of release and liberation, witnessing this kiss.

And then there’s episode 17:

After Do Kyung comes clean to Hae Young about his visions, there’s finally no emotional barrier left between them, and that’s expressed in their skinship too. The kisses are sensuous, hungry, unafraid to explore, and so full-on real.

I love, too, the sweet intimacy of their fingers intertwining, even as they drown in the kisses.

Flail.

Later that same episode, after Do Kyung’s car confrontation with Tae Jin, I love the relieved, hungry and life-affirming way these two cleave to each other and sink into each other.

Drown.

I just, seriously, completely, totally buy that these two are deeply in love and hungry for each other. Love.

[END SPOILER]

2. Soo Kyung & Jin Sang [SPOILERS]

Heh. I found the loveline between Soo Kyung and Jin Sang unexpected and funny in how surreal it came across. From fierce noona and cowering dongsaeng, things sure took a quickly escalated turn when they got drunk together in episode 9 and accidentally ended up in bed together.

Although their shared arc is mostly played for laughs (that recurring gag of them arguing in French is so cute), on a deeper level, I could totally buy how Soo Kyung would be the only woman who could possibly keep Jin Sang in check.

I loved when Soo Kyung started getting protective of Jin Sang, and I loved too, that Jin Sang was unwilling to abandon Soo Kyung in spite of his conflicted emotions.

I do wish this couple could have enjoyed a more fleshed-out arc, so that we could’ve seen their relationship grow beyond its initial tentative stages, but I did enjoy what we did get, so there’s that.

Special shout-outs:

Park Hoon & An Na

The loveline between Hoon (Huh Jung Min) and An Na (Huh Young Ji) is played for comedy, and pretty broad comedy at that. Thanks to solid comic timing from both actors, I found myself suitably amused at the antics of these two, ridiculous as it sometimes got.

Extra shout-out to Huh Young Ji for gamely allowing her hair to be dyed (quite literally) every color of the rainbow for the role. That’s commitment, yo.

Hae Young’s family

In a drama landscape where the nice kdrama parents are as rare as purple unicorns, Hae Young’s parents are a breath of fresh air.

In spite of some questionable beats – [SPOILER] I don’t think I will ever get over how they basically just locked Hae Young out of the house when they decided Hae Young needed to move out [END SPOILER] – what struck me the most about Mom and Dad, is how much they love their daughter.

From the way they make food for her and with her, to how they secretly check on her, to how they cry with and for her, they always, always want Hae Young to be happy, and do their best to be supportive, even when they don’t agree with her choices.

That’s just awwww-some sorta stuff, and I couldn’t help but have a giant soft spot for Mom and Dad.

The two Hae Youngs [SPOILERS]

I’m a sucker for unlikely alliances and friendships, and this was exactly the case with the two Hae Youngs.

From the beginning of the show, the two Hae Youngs are shown to be as different as chalk and cheese, with different personalities, circumstances and experiences to match their different styles and sensibilities. With the addition of the love triangle construct involving Do Kyung, it does appear, for a long time, that they will never be friends.

Which is why I really love that Show took the trouble to explore their similarities beneath the surface differences; that underneath it all, they’re both wounded souls who’ve envied each other, and who are both, simply and sincerely, looking for happiness.

I love that in the end, we get to see the two Hae Youngs getting along and understanding each other, and empathizing with each other, in episode 16. The other Hae Young tells our Hae Young that they should stick to only seeing each other at reunions, but something tells me that given enough time to heal, that these two might just become proper, bona fide friends.

I’d love that.

Do Kyung & his boys

These boys are mostly played for laughs, but I couldn’t resist a quick shout-out to Do Kyung’s boys. Dorky, dim-but-earnest, and full of heart, these boys genuinely care for Do Kyung. I love that they look up to him, and (sometimes literally) follow his lead like ducklings trailing after their mom. Hee.

Oh Hae Young Again OST – 흩어져

THINGS I DIDN’T LOVE

There is no perfect drama (although a few manage to come pretty close – have you seen Nirvana in Fire? So freaking awesome, seriously), so I’m not surprised that there are some things that didn’t work so well for me in this how.

Still, that doesn’t diminish the regret with which I highlight these items. Sigh. The could’ve beens. They always haunt you, don’t they?

1. Hae Young being treated like dirt (more than sometimes)

I get that it’s part of the setup, but I really didn’t like how other people treated Hae Young so carelessly and talked her down, to her face, no less. Ugh. Every time the people around Hae Young treated her like literal dirt and walked all over her, I wanted to reach into my screen and slap someone.

What made it worse, is that all this bad behavior gets amplified in the presence of the other Hae Young, coz the people involved go out of their way to flatter the other Hae Young, and worse, proceed to make bald comparisons between the two.

I get that this bad behavior is exaggerated for dramatic effect, and to drive our narrative forward. But, I can’t help feeling disturbed that this bad behavior basically goes unchecked. Nobody really comes out and sets these people in their place and tells them that treating someone like this is Not Okay.

2. Hae Young’s lack of dignity (sometimes)

I love that Hae Young loves fearlessly, but there’s a fine line between loving without reservation, and cheapening oneself. And sometimes, Hae Young veers into the latter, and that didn’t sit so well with me.

[SPOILER ALERT]

In episode 10 in particular, Hae Young repeatedly refers to herself as being “easy,” and that troubled me. I want it to mean easygoing, but there’s this negative connotation to “easy,” along the lines of “cheap,” and I don’t think Hae Young ought to categorize herself that way. It’s played as somewhat jokey, but it’s not clearly a joke either.

Worse, in that episode, Hae Young refers to herself as easy, then proceeds to angle for Do Kyung to take her to a motel for some sexytimes. I’m grateful and relieved that Do Kyung doesn’t go along with it, and that he basically tells her that she’s more precious than that.

Still, I rather wish Hae Young as a character could’ve been accorded just a tiny bit more dignity.

[END SPOILER]

3. The handling of the mythology of the visions

Do Kyung’s ability to see visions of the future is a big driving force in our narrative. Unfortunately, the mythology around the visions isn’t handled very well.

With some rationalization and some leaping through mental hoops, I managed to come to terms with it all, but as always, it would’ve been nice if the mental hoops hadn’t been necessary.

[SPOILERS THROUGH THE END OF THE REVIEW]

The how & why

First of all, we’re never told how and why Do Kyung’s having the visions. All we get are hypotheses from Do Kyung’s therapist, and those are never shown to be true or false.

On the one hand, the lack of explanation around the ‘how’ didn’t bother me so much, because in my head, somehow, Do Kyung’s highly trained hearing, and his constant honing of his ability to listen, felt kind of related to his sudden ability to see snatches of the future. I felt as if he was able to listen for it, even though that made no real sense. Plus, I did like the dynamic this super-sense created, of our hero watching and waiting for our heroine, even before they even met.

On the other hand, the whole theory about Do Kyung being on the brink of death and experiencing the memories as visions, really threw me for a loop. I mean, it’s sort of brilliant, but also distinctly weird. This also messed with my ability to just let go and enjoy the developments between Do Kyung and Hae Young, coz I kept wondering if he was really dying.

How it’s eventually resolved

The second, more troublesome thing is, the way the visions are resolved don’t feel satisfying, to me.

Eventually, after episode upon episode where we assumed that Do Kyung was maybe-really dying, and I spent all that time grappling with how I felt about it and coming to terms with it, it just.. wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t want Do Kyung to die. But, I told myself, if it’s inevitable, then at least he’s going to die loving ardently, and being loved ardently. And so I braced myself for the worst.

After such a long and arduous build-up, though, the eventual car confrontation felt like quite an anticlimax.

The eventual events do look rather dumb and oversimplified, when you first look at it. I mean, why would Do Kyung just stand there, if he feels like Tae Jin’s going to try to run him down, right? And, upon running away from the on-coming car, why would Do Kyung then turn around to face the car head-on?

Upon rationalization (and more mental hoops), it did eventually make a type of sense to me, in that Do Kyung’s got a pretty strong fatalistic streak, and even though ripples of change have happened as he’s acted differently from his visions, there’s a part of him that is convinced that he can’t escape his eventual death.

In that sense, all that he’s been doing, isn’t really to cheat the death vision, but to make the most of the time that he does have, to ensure that when – not if – he finds himself bleeding out on that road post-crash, he won’t be filled with regret. So everything that he’s been doing – opening his heart, and loving Hae Young as much as he can – is about moving towards that moment without regret; that he would be able to die without regret.

So in this moment, Do Kyung believes that he’s pretty much arrived at that moment, and there’s little chance of escaping it. Which is, I think, why he eventually turns to face the moment, head-on. Rather than have the car bear down on him while his back is turned to it, he would rather gather his courage and face it, head-on.

Of course, I’ve got more thoughts on the final playing out of the vision thing, which I’ll talk about in my next section.

THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING

Honestly, I have mixed feelings about this finale.

For the first time, I actually feel like Show loses its grip on its heretofore fine balance between poignance and comedy, and I cringe at some of the moments that are supposed to be funny. Hoon leaping into An Na’s arms; Soo Kyung wanting to die from embarrassment at Jin Sang having to unclog the toilet for her; the elaborate show that An Na, Hoon and Jin Sang put up to convince Soo Kyung that “love in reverse” is cool. Somehow, all of these comedic moments didn’t land so well for me, nor did they seem to sit comfortably next to the more poignant moments this episode.

Of course, there’s also the matter of Do Kyung’s death vision catching up with him. It feels like the way Show handles it falls short, somehow. But, y’know, I’m not even sure what would make this finale better.

If they had let Do Kyung die, but with a feeling of closure instead of the regret he’d felt in his vision, that might’ve been a ballsier move. But then, I would’ve felt so sad for Hae Young, and I want Hae Young to have a chance to pursue happiness with the man she loves.

If they had let Do Kyung and Hae Young keep on living earnestly, but without encountering the accident, that would have felt like something of a cop-out because it would’ve come across as Show being cowardly and avoiding the issue.

In this sense, I feel like Show chose the best possible ending. Do Kyung faces his worst fears, but experiences the lack of regret thanks to the different choices he’s made; Do Kyung survives the accident and gets to live life with a different mindset and approach going forward; Hae Young gets to share her life with the man she loves.

However, in giving us this ending, even though it’s painted with a sense of openness into an as-yet-uncreated future, it all does feel overly pat. Everyone is left in a happier place; all the couples are doing well and moving forward together; amends are made and well-wishes are given.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s because even Awful Chairman Jang (Kang Nam Gil) gets to dance at the wedding party in the finale’s final  moments, without really having to suffer much for all his despicable behavior. Maybe it’s because in the end, Jin Sang and Soo Kyung make a sudden, unexplained jump from being essentially awkward around each other, to planning a wedding.

In spite of the happy vibes that the finale serves up, I feel lashings of disappointment and almost.. betrayal at this ending, because it feels like in choosing these narrative details, Show makes a sudden leap into a different dimension that is more fairytale than real, thus forsaking the best thing about itself: its ability to present emotional truth.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

In spite of Show’s missteps, I do really like the main themes that it’s worked to present:

To love fully; to love ardently; to give of your heart fully, without regrets – like Hae Young does, and like Do Kyung learns to do.

That we can choose. Our choices do matter. Our choices shape our future. So choose the future that you want, and don’t let yourself be carried along helplessly by your circumstances.

That things tend to look different when you look at your life as a whole. So choose a life well-lived; choose to live without regrets.

Solid lessons to live by, whichever way you slice it.

Ultimately, one of the things this show does amazingly well, is to portray how life just isn’t black and white; that there are many shades of grey, and sometimes – perhaps oftentimes – it’s so complicated that it paralyzes you.

And yet, that struggle to find what’s right, is beautiful. Because in the midst of all that is troubling, confusing and perhaps downright ugly and awful, there is love.

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Weak in (relatively small) spots, but sensitively written, wonderfully poignant and full of heart, with some broad comedy on the side.

FINAL GRADE: A-

TEASER:

MVs:

Author: kfangurl

Proud to be a k-fangirl since 2007. Main diet of kdramas with movies and kpop on the side.

63 thoughts on “Review: Oh Hae Young Again [Another Oh Hae Young]

  1. I love this show, if there’s any flaw , I still love it all !!! I love Seo Hyun Jin , I definitely heart Eric ❤ ❤ ❤
    I specially love the bench scene episode 2, i can physically feel Hae Young's pain while telling Do Kyung why she is miserable awwww, it broke my heart. It is also true that when one is at their weakest moment , 2 miserable human being can align together and help each other heal… That's why they came to love each other deeply in such a short time.

    Thank you so much fangirl for this review, and yes, i will go back to reading now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, your love for this show, and for Seo Hyun Jin and Eric, is so full and bubbly, Nancy! I can totally feel your love leaping off my screen! 😉

      I agree that Hae Young’s pain was really well-presented. I get what you mean about being able to physically feel her pain. Seo Hyun Jin delivered that pain so well, that it was often palpable to me too. That, to me, is one of this show’s strength. Its ability to understand pain, and present it and share it, such that it almost becomes your own.

      Really glad you enjoyed this one, Nancy. 🙂

      Like

  2. Another wonderful review, thanks so much! As usual I broadly agree with almost everything you say and highlight, you manage to put into words so well. I am one of those who thought Eric’s performance was weak but in mitigation for me this show is all about the female characters, the males are mostly relatively empty vehicles for the much deeper and more nuanced female roles. I liked ‘pretty’ OHY’ just as much all the way through and felt vindicated as we saw her flashbacks, her selfishness never felt any more egregious than ‘plain’ OHY to.me, in fact ultimately she proved to be the sadder case.
    Tae Jin seemed to be punished too harshly by life and then OHY for the way he broke the wedding, I’m not sure he did that much wrong, and Do Kyung’s behaviour for me was decidedly creepy at times.

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    • Hey there, munkondi! Great to see you again! And thanks for enjoying the review, even though you felt Eric’s performance was weak. As for Tae Jin, I feel that he was pretty innocent to begin with. Unfortunately, when the bad stuff hit, we got to see what he was made of, and he.. didn’t do so well on that front. 😛

      As for the other Hae Young, you’re very right. She was never badder than Hae Young.. It was a lesson in perspectives. She looked like a bad person from Hae Young’s point of view, but eventually, when we get to see her point of view too, we realize that the two Hae Youngs aren’t that different after all. 🙂 I don’t find her a “sadder” case at the end, though.. As in, it’s true that she didn’t end up with Do Kyung, but she’s grown to a better place at the end than when we first met her, and that’s definitely a positive. I love that at the end, she’s still standing, still smiling (though still mending), and looking ahead to her future. That speaks winner, to me. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, thanks for replying! It’s great to share so much enthusiasm for this awesome drama, I was thrilled to see you’d watched it too as it was broadcast.
        Yes, it’s true Tae Jin behaved badly when he came out of prison but then that experience must have brutalised him, don’t you think? And Do Kyung’s incredibly stupid road rage driving into the back of his car was totally unacceptable. Anyway, I just think DK is getting off a bit too lightly 🙂 Maybe this is seeing it from.a male perspective, because for me all the male characters were, to put it kindly, pretty immature.
        Now on to ‘Doctors’; so far, so good! 🙂

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        • That’s interesting, munkondi! As in, it’s possible that your rather different response to Tae Jin and Do Kyung could well be because you’re looking at it from a male perspective. Perhaps as a guy yourself, you hold these guys up to a higher standard – one that you would hold yourself to? I’m just guessing here, of course. But it doesn’t make your point any less interesting!

          I hope you’re enjoying Doctors. I’m not caught up on this week’s episodes yet, but it’s been a fairly positive watch for me so far. Fingers crossed that it’ll stay on the positive side of things! 😉

          Like

  3. Thank you, Fangirl, for yet another thoughtful, comprehensive review. I had been feeling pretty isolated with all my love for OHYA, so your review was a welcome read😀

    First, the OST!! I have it on autoplay from the minute I get up through to evening. It is lighthearted and bubbly, yet somehow sinks these melancholy hooks deep into your heart……kinda like the drama!

    I was so disheartened by the negative comments and reviews- but I agree this is where the lens comes in…..OHYA isn’t about the rom-com chase of boy trying to get girl (or visa versa) but about a couple overcoming significant hurdles in building a committed relationship, which suited me perfectly. I agree the writer, actors, director all turned in brilliant work….which I gauge by the size of the heartache I still have, post-show. I think the biggest complaint has been about the ups and downs in the main relationship, which is the biggest truth for me…..love is a non-linear progression!

    I also feel Eric gave a nuanced, heartfelt performance as a man of integrity operating under a heavy burden, and you captured everything about it that resonated with me…..and I am speechless when it comes to Oh Hae Young and her family…….they were so imperfectly perfect.

    I think we are on opposites sides of the world, Fangirl, but we have the same lens…..

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  4. (whoops, almost done!)

    Then, the ending. I came into it fully expecting Eric to reach that moment of death, and I had decided beforehand that I was good with it, because I trusted the writer completely. For me, the mythology hung together as he wasn’t able to change the essentials (still hit by karmic car) but he was able to survive.

    I think we are on opposites sides of the world, Fangirl, but i feel we share the same lens…..

    Like

    • Aw, I’m so glad you enjoyed this one too, Mary!! 😀 And yes, I get what you mean about feeling a bit isolated in your love for OHYA.. that’s pretty much how I feel too! 😉 I really think the melancholic underbelly of this show threw a lot of people who wanted and expected light frothy fun. Which isn’t an unreasonable expectation per se, since this show did the light frothy bits really well too.

      You’re so right that this show sinks its melancholic hooks into you, and that they linger. In my opinion, the best shows are the ones that linger with you, and this one definitely does. As does its OST, which is ❤ indeed.

      I agree that the ending managed to fulfill the best of both needs – the need for Do Kyung to fully face that moment of death, and the need for Do Kyung and Hae Young to have a chance to start life afresh, together. I think that if the rest of the finale had been truer to Show's poignant core, and had dialed down the cheesy overly pat, overly saccharine and overly try-hard-funny, I would've liked it a lot better.

      Also! YES, I do think we have very similar ways of enjoying our dramas, which is very cool indeed. Hi5, drama sista! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A wonderful review as per usual! You have this uncanny ability to hone into the essence of what makes a show work… or not. Wish I had that too. 🙂

    I’m still stuck at ep 8 myself as Show didn’t really resonate with me for some reason. It’s not like I went in with expectations either as I’ve sorta learned not to, with kdramas. Maybe I just wasn’t in a right mood. We’ll see when I get back to it and try to continue my watch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awww.. thank you so much, dear Timescout!! ❤ Coming from you, that is solid, precious praise indeed, and I will treasure it accordingly! 😀

      I do hope you'll find yourself in the mood for this one at some point.. I really do love it, with small exceptions, and it's one of my top picks so far, among this year's kdrama offerings. 🙂

      Like

  6. Best review ever. Oh my god this made me cry. No kidding. Haha! I looove the show (and everyone) so so much. I am not that good in translating my feelings into words and you wrote this flawlessly!

    Sigh. I miss them already.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awww. Best compliment ever, thank you. ❤ ❤ I'm so glad you enjoyed the show (it IS so lovely!) AND this review! And yes, this show and its characters do tend to have that lingering effect, don't they? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • They do! And I feel so pathetic because now I ship this couple in real life too. They were that good!

        Aside from the OTP, I love all the friendships and the Oh family of course! 🙂 It will be hard to top this drama for me this year…

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        • This is definitely one of my top picks this year.. along with Answer Me 1988, which I loved. ❤ Did you see that one? Those characters stole my heart too, including all the friendships & family.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Should probably start that one too! 🙂

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            • Yes, please do! It’s one of my top picks among the kdramas this year, and it completely stole my heart with its warmth and endearing characters. The one thing I will say is, it would probably improve your watch experience if you keep an open mind about who the husband turns out to be. 😉

              Liked by 1 person

              • Oh so they’re doing that husband mystery again! Hope it does not disappoint lol. And wow it’s an hour and 30mins per ep! Loved Reply 1997 tho so I’ll watch this too for sure!

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                • I thought the Who’s The Hubs was well-handled in this installment, compared to AM97 and AM94. It’s not as annoying and doesn’t feel as mean-spirited. In AM97 and AM94 I hated that the shows would tease with almost-reveals, all series long. They didn’t do that in AM88, and for that, I’m grateful. 😉 I hope you love AM88 as much as I do – that show deserves more love than it gets! 🙂

                  Liked by 1 person

  7. Such an excellent review! What I love best about your reviews is the fact that you insert the OST music. I always click and listen while I am reading and it brings back the feelings I had while watching the drama. Love that about your reviews.

    I loved this drama. Seo Hyun Jin did a fabulous job and I feel Eric is getting better with each role. I happen to appreciate the way he played his character. The first kiss (the wall kiss) was the best KKiss ever because it felt very real – not stiff and painful. My favorite actress was Soo Kyung – she almost stole the show! So good and the clothes she wore – I give the costume designer some props for her edgy outfits. I also love Kim Mi Kyung – she is such a great actress and brings realism to any part she plays.

    This was the first drama I actually waited for each week. I am planning on watching this one again. To date the only drama I have ever re-watched was KMHM because I loved it so much. I love this drama that much as well.

    Thanks for taking the time to write this comprehensive review. I am so glad I found this site and that I subscribed to get updates whenever you do a review.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aw, yay that you found the site, phl! (Can I call you phl?) Welcome! I’m so glad that you enjoy the reviews AND the music!! 😀 I completely agree that the music can bring back all the feels.. at least, with certain songs and certain shows. ^^

      I completely agree that Seo Hyun Jin and Eric did great. And their skinship was so natural too! I didn’t mention the wall kiss in my review coz of the angry nature of the lead-up, which felt rather unhealthy to me, but I can’t deny that the chemistry was through the roof. 😉

      I’m with you on the rewatchability of this one.. I can totally see myself reaching for this one sometime. And KMHM too, which I really enjoyed as well (I really need to write a KMHM review 😛 )

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      • I would really be interested to read it!

        Ever since finding you while looking for a Padam Padam review I have stopped by at least once a week. After reading your full list reviews, I have committed to watching Nirvana in Fire and you were spot on with that review-. I will jump over there once I am done….still on episode 13…and it just gets better. It is brilliant, just as you described.

        Like

        • Ah! I’m SO GLAD you decided to give NIF a chance!! It’s so gloriously gorgeous and so brilliantly acted and written. ❤ ❤ And you're very right, it only gets better. And keeps getting better all the way to the end, which is such an incredible feat, since most dramas go through the opposite trajectory! I can't wait to hear how you like it when you're done! 😀

          As for the KMHM review, I hope to get to it in the not-too-distant future. 😛 I'm backlogged, always. There are so many dramas that I want to write reviews for, and I can't keep up! But I loved KMHM, so I don't want to neglect it. 🙂

          Like

  8. I had to be careful reading because I haven’t watched this one yet. It is on my list when my drama watching time allows, hopefully soon. I think Jun Hye Bin is very underrated so I’m glad to see her in a successful drama. Most seem to really enjoy this drama though I’ve heard the addition of a few episodes watered things down. I like a lot of different kinds of dramas, but I came to K-drama with a thirst for romance whether dramatic or comedic though I tend to not go full melo very often. It is nice if the writers can provide growth with their characters throughout the episodes. That growth is what makes a fun rom/com into something that stays with a viewer longer than the hours watching the drama. It’s really amazing how few actually manage to do that. This is getting moved up on my watch list.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, it sounds like this might be right up your alley, Kat! 🙂 Coz there is definitely personal growth in our OTP, as well as a good number of secondary characters, and Show’s brand of sweet melancholy tends to linger as well. I think this one leans a little more dramatic, even though it handles comedic very well, and since it’s not a full-on melo, it should be a pretty enjoyable watch for you, as long as you’re in the right mood! I really hope you like it when you get to it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. ame este dorama especialmente a mi eric

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love reading your reviews, even for a drama that I did not like.

    I could love any drama despite its flaws for its OTP. The OTP in this drama did not do it for me. The chemistry is there, the hot is there, good acting too. But love was missing. I could not make myself believe that these two is desparately in love.

    Oh Hae Young pursued him too aggresively. If this was an alternate drama she would easily be the annoying second female lead. She was just out of an almost-marriage. There is not even a month between her break up with Tae Jin and her confession to this hot neighbor, Do Kyung. She either was not sincere to Tae Jin, or she is just using Do Kyung as a rebound. That is how I normally read this situation. Either way, it does not look healthy. Also I had too many second-hand embarassment because of her scenes at her workplace. She kept creating scenes, and that was not a professional thing to do,

    Do Kyung was too wooden. This is a character who has to be cold and distant on the outside. And this type of characters absolutely require a good actor. Because he had to do all the acting with his eyes. Although his body is stiff, his lines are short, his eyes should overflow with emotion. I needed to see the regret, guilt, and love in his eyes. But with Eric’s acting, I could not even tell that he is feeling something, his eyes were too dull. If it is not for his scenes with his psychologist, we would not even tell what he is feeling. Having a guy who cannot express even a hint of emotion, paired with a women who is all over him from the instant she saw him half-naked, is not an OTP for me.

    And Hae Young’s parents, I did not like them too. If it was my mom who keeps hitting me like that all the time, I would move out. I am always irritated with kdrama beating up scenes. Seriously, that is why I cannot watch reply series. The warm, loving family environment is always depicted as people who are shouting at and hitting each other casually. Oh Hae Young’s mom was like that too. And also, why don’t they have a job? They look too young to retire, they only seem to be cooking and washing dishes constantly.

    Sorry that I am being salty about a drama which got A- from you. I just needed to write these.

    Thanks for this great blog!

    Like

    • Lol, no worries about being salty about a drama I loved, Ane! I believe we all experience our dramas differently, and our experiences are all colored by our own life contexts, so everyone’s opinion is valid, for them. On top of that, you’re not the only one for whom this drama didn’t work.. I’ve read a fair bit of online dissatisfaction with this show, and some of the comments are somewhat similar to yours.

      I do agree that almost all rebound relationships don’t work out (none of mine ever did, lol), but I’m willing to believe that at least some of the time, it can work. And in all the little ways that Hae Young and Do Kyung grew closer over time, and in all the ways that he provided encouragement and affirmation in the areas where she was hurting the most, I could see why Do Kyung would come to occupy such a large space in her heart. And I can also believe that Do Kyung would soften towards Hae Young, because her candid honesty and open-heartedness is such an appealing opposite to himself. Plus, she forces growth from him, which I think he recognizes as well. Also very importantly, I felt that Seo Hyun Jin and Eric sold the emotion of the OTP very well. I had no trouble believing that they were in love.

      …But, like I said, that doesn’t mean you need to believe it too! 😉 Thanks for enjoying the review and the blog, even when we don’t share the same opinions, Ane! That’s part of what makes the dramaverse cool, and I dig it. ^^

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I love this drama. But I think the writer didn’t give us the explanation clearly about how Do Kyung got his visions. Or at least since when he got that visions. Other than that, I think all was perfect.

    I really need to give big applause to Seo Hyun Jin but Eric won the biggest credit for me. Except Do Kyung, all of characters are quirky and played with more dialogues which are totally different with Park Do Kyung. The ability of Eric to deliver his emotions through no words/ sentences but only use his facial expressions are fantastic job. And the chemistry of the main lead was no joke that everytime they are together on screen, I feel like witnessed two person in love are making out or having their private moments. Bravo for Eric and Seo Hyun Jin. And the supporting characters are so good that I also wanna see their story development.

    Like

    • So glad you enjoyed this drama too, Majara! This drama deserves more love than it gets, so every time someone says they love it, it makes me happy too ^^

      I agree that the writer didn’t provide any clear explanation of Do Kyung’s visions. By the end, all we can guess is that they weren’t coma dreams, and that Do Kyung wasn’t lying on his deathbed. Other than that, it’s really left vague. I do think Eric did a good job of delivering Do Kyung’s character.. The silent broody gazes did say a lot. At the same time, I do think there’s room for him to grow as an actor.. In terms of depth and nuance, I felt like there was still room for more, even though Eric was already doing a solid job, if you know what I mean. And I do hope that Eric will continue to take on acting projects, coz I love watching him on my screen. ❤ Preferably in well-written, well-directed shows like this one 😉

      Like

  12. I enjoyed reading your thoughtful review of this show. You have highlighted the nuances of it very well and I agreed with almost everything you said. I too, was a little disappointed with the ending–it seemed too rushed and forced, but that is a small thing in the total arc of the story.

    I loved the sensitivity of these characters, and the immense love that shone through so many of the relationships. I loved how Do Kyung and his siblings, although all wounded and abandoned in some way, made a haven for themselves with each other. I loved how Hae Young courageously chose to make herself vulnerable and love whole-heartedly. I also thought that although there were times when she showed too much neediness, she also understood her strength and realised that in some ways Do Kyung needed her more than she needed him.

    I am curious… is the writer of this show male or female? I’m guessing female because of the subtleties and the clear understanding of the female psyche, but I could be wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Bronwyn! I’m so pleased that you enjoyed this review, AND that this lovely gem of a show is getting a little more love! 🙂

      I love your point about Do Kyung and his siblings. Indeed, as messed up as their childhoods must have been, and as messed up as that has made each of them in their own ways, they make it a point to make a family for one another, and live together in the same house, and I love that. I also agree that Do Kyung needed Hae Young more than she needed him, and that she recognized and honored that, in her own way.

      You’re very right, this is written by a female writer, and it shows, particularly in Show’s demonstration of its profound understanding and grasp of the female heart. Fun fact: while preparing to write this review, I discovered that the writer’s name is also Hae Young. How about that, for some meta? 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  13. annyeong..i must say that i agree with almost everything that u have written here..and this is the only “another oh hae young review” that i’ve read word for word..hihi..as for me..i rate it 4.8/5..the chemistry is super great..(LET ME JUST POINT OUT THAT I LOVE ALL THE KISSING SCENES..IT ALL FELT SO REAL..MY PERSONAL FAVE WAS THE HOSPITAL KISS..ITS SO TENDER AND SWEET…AND I RAPED THE REPLAY BUTTON JUST TO CONFIRM THAT IF I REALLY SAW DO KYUNG SMILE WHILE KISSING HAE YOUNG..AND HE REALLY DID SMILE.!!!OHMIGOSH..I JUST DIED.!!!!) and not just with the leads but with the entire cast..and i can so relate with hae young ah’s family..my mother is that feisty as hae young’s eomma..my father is a silent supporter just like hae young’s appa..and im also an only child..haha..here’s to hoping that im gonna find my own do kyung ah..haha..>_< ..and the story line is also great..u know a drama is so good when u cant wait for the next episode or u cant stop yourself from saying "just one more episode and im gonna sleep" when u do a marathon and then u finally realise that its already morning and u have to go to work/school..haha..but why did i give it 4.8 not 5..its because it wasnt explained why do kyungs visions are somewhat related to the life of a certain singer/performer..but all in all..its really a great show..its one for the books..and its definitely on my top 3 fave kdramas ever..^_^

    Liked by 1 person

    • Annyeong, May! 😀 Thanks for enjoying this review, it’s gratifying to know that you read the whole thing, even though it’s pretty long. And I do agree the kisses brought the feels. Both Eric and Seo Hyun Jin sold it, and sold it well. I also looked forward to this show week to week, it has that cracky flavor to it which is extra precious to me these days. 🙂

      I agree the show could’ve done a better job showing the connection between Do Kyung’s visions and the singer guy. I took it as purely a point of reference, ie, in Do Kyung’s original vision, the singer was announced as dead as Do Kyung lay bleeding out on the road. So, when in reality the announcement was that the singer was still alive, it served as evidence that the course of the future had been altered. I hope that perspective helps!

      PS: I love happy endings too, and I’m glad Hae Young and Do Kyung got a happy ending 🙂

      Like

      • oh kamsahamnida for the reply..hihi..until the next kdrama review that im gonna read here..:) ..and i am so doing a marathon of AOHY these days since i already miss them..

        Like

        • Re-watches are fab. ❤ Enjoy your rewatch of OHYA! 🙂

          Like

          • hello again..done with my re-watch of AOHY..and i started watching uncontrollably fond..im currently on the 2nd episode..but im not that hooked.!!!wwwwwwwaaaahhh.!!well..i guess..i haven’t move on from do kyung-hae young and the rest of the casts’ superb chemistry..and funny how i recommend this drama (like recommending it hardcore..as if the producers..crew and actors are paying me to do so) to every co-worker that i know who watches kdrama too..and it makes me happy that they too are addicted to the series..even my boss is watching it now..haha..>_<

            Like

            • Tee hee!! I love how you’ve become a true AOHY ambassador, may!! 😄 That’s so cool, that your boss is watching it too!

              I feel you, on UF.. I’m not feeling it much myself, and that makes me sad, coz it’s Woob. I am enjoying W though, so if you’re not watching that yet, you might want to check it out. It’s unpredictable and fun, and I find both leads very likable. 😊

              Like

              • yes.!!!!and we are so growing..we have a cult already in the office..hahaha..and i have to make a secret facebook group so that we can post our feels and updates there..its so funny..and they are calling me cult leader..and our greetings now are not”hi..hello” anymore..but annyeong.!!!!plus all those korean phrases..like..aigoo..mianhae..and the likes..we are so using it now..hahaha..
                and yes..i like woo bin..but not the storyline of UF..and i’ve seen half of w..i stopped also..as well as cinderella and four knights(i might continue this one after MND)..what im watching now is the marriage not dating..im almost done with it..its fun and it has the aohy vibe too (well for obvious reason –the PD..hihi )..what im doing these days is lurk on youtube and search for shinhwa/eric/seo hyun jin vids..yes.!!!im still not over this one.!!!!plus eric’s having a new show and its a reality show..and SHINHWA’s comeback too..it makes me so giddy..giddy..and i’ve just read that hyun jins having a new drama..i’ll look forward to that as well..and oh yeah..gong yoo’s and dong wook’s too.!!!!im so excited for that as well.!!!and its also from tvn which is slaying this past few years with quality dramas.!!!!!

                Like

                • Lol. Your k-adventures in the office sound like so much fun!! 😆 I’m sure that totally spices up your office atmosphere! Also, it sounds like you’re totally enjoying your online fangirl adventures, stalking Eric vids and everything, while sifting through a bucketload of dramas – awesome stuff!! 😀

                  Like

                  • yes.!!!!it is fun indeed.!!!!and now im so happy and giddy giddy again cos theres a lot of updates/sightings for eric..cos of 3 meals a day..im so excited for that..haha..and then he’s got a photobook/dvd..plus SHINee’s comeback this week too..ohmigosh..the last quarter of the year..my fangirl self is so fully booked.!!!

                    Like

                    • Lol. I love how your fangirling has ramped up to the extent that you’ve got multiple things to juggle now! 😂 That’s just super cute – and very cool – that you’re having this much fun with it, and with Real Life friends and colleagues too. Going to work must be so much more fun than it used to be! 😉

                      Like

  14. and oh i forgot..the vision thingy plot reminds me of Jennifer love hewitts movie “if only” so much that i panicked on the last episode thinking it was hae young who’s gonna be in an accident and perhaps die..good thing she didnt..cos i always..always love happy endings..:)

    Like

  15. This was my first kdrama, and even though I’ve watched a lot of kmovies this just blew me out of the water. The second half of the series did drag a bit for me, though not because of the pacing, but rather because of the shift in focus to Do King’s visions. That’s a more subjective point, though; while the show executed it well, in a way that wasn’t too sudden or unbelievable, it was still just a bit too excessive for my tastes. And the constant flashbacks as well as flash-forwards did get a bit annoying. So did Do Kyung’s dozen near death experiences. 😛 However, I do like that it served a purpose – to give more depth to Do Kyung’s character and show his development.
    Overall the show felt very relatable in terms of the characters’ emotions, and despite having second thoughts halfway through, I’m glad I spent the 18 hours on it. By the end, I didn’t want the show to end because I’d have to say goodbye to the characters – and this only happens to me with good shows (referring to anime here, but the concept is applicable anywhere 😉).
    The reason why I decided to comment, though, was to tell you how accurate and engaging your reviews are. I agree with most of what you said, and I think reading your review was an experience itself. I’ve read many of your other reviews as well, and even if I wasn’t particularly interested in the dramas, the reviews were still interesting to read. I was in search of my next drama but after not being hooked at the beginnings of Doctor Crush and Uncontrollably Fond, I’ve gone back to manga. 😂 However, I’d really appreciate it if you could recommend a drama with good characters, a fast paced plot and preferably some comedic elements to me. ^.^
    Thank you for putting so much thought into your reviews. Reviews usually end up as nothing more than rants because of bias and tangents, but yours are clear, analytical, and pretty fair. I don’t usually don’t pay much mind to review blogs, but I’m following yours!

    Like

    • Hello! I agree with you on the new dramas out, so can I recommend ‘Healer’? I don’t think Fangirl hasn’t reviewed it yet, but it is such a perfect drama-great characters, incredible plot and yes, comedy!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Tee hee. I LOVE how you had the exact same recommendation as I did, Mary! 😀 We do think alike!

        Also – I hope to post that Healer review soon-ish. Fingers crossed that I make good progress on it! ^^

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you, Fangirl, for the virtual high-five! I was imagining ‘afoodfullife’ going down the path of even worse dramas, so I had to jump in!

          FYI, your complete list of reviews has been my treasure map this past year…..I’ve mostly been hitting the A’s , with a slight deviation every do often into B territory (Masters Sun!-love, love love) and it has been a wonderful guide for a newbie.

          I am so glad to hear that Healer is in the works!

          Like

          • Aw, that’s really cool to know! 😀 I’m so pleased that the List is turning out to be a useful guide! In fact, I feel like some sort of Treasure Master, with you treating the list as a treasure map, wheee! 😀 Since your drama sensibilities seem similar to mine, it should pretty fail-safe for you to hit all the A dramas. Lots of the B+ dramas are great too!

            And yes, the Healer review is in the works! I can already safely say, it’s going to be one of my monster ones. I hope you find it worth the wait ^^

            Like

          • Thanks for the suggestion!! Yeah, I haven’t really been into the dramas I’ve watched lately. Page Turner was beautiful, but You From Another Star just didn’t really get to me. It started off good, but just never got better. I was debating dropping it at episode 10; stuck it out to episode 19, but I just couldn’t bring myself to even finish the last ep (I know, how pointless).

            Watching Angry Mom right now, and although it’s good, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations either. So hopefully Healer will!! 😛

            Like

    • Wow, thanks for the lovely encouragement and affirmation, afoodfullife! (Is there another name you’d prefer I use?) Also, welcome to the blog! I’m so pleased that you enjoy the reviews, it definitely adds to my motivation to keep writing ’em! 🙂

      I agree with you, that the visions and flashes forward & backward came on a little strong in the final stretch. But, as you said, it served a purpose, and for that, I found it had its place and therefore was acceptable. And you’re so right, that the characters totally grow on you. I enjoyed most of the characters, especially our main couple. Seo Hyun Jin was particularly outstanding to me, for bringing such believable life to Hae Young’s every emotion. LOVE. ❤

      As for a drama recommendation, funny story: I saw your comment, and decided that Healer would be something that you'd enjoy. But before I got to post my reply, Mary came up with the exact same recommendation! 😀 How cool is that?

      I do think that you'd enjoy Healer, coz it's got some great characters, a great OTP with excellent chemistry, and plot that moves quickly, and a good sprinkling of humor that I actually found funny. Additionally, because Healer himself is a character that parkours off buildings, it gives him a superhero-esque flavor. And that might jive well with your manga sensibilities? I owe everyone a review of Healer, which I loved so much that I wanted to write it a monster review – and then got sidetracked because those monster reviews take a lot of time, and Real Life and other dramas got in the way. For the record, I'm still working on the review, and hope to post it soon-ish. Also for the record, I give Healer an A+. Unreservedly. ❤ I hope you do check it out! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Thanks! I actually commented on your Page Turner post as well with the name I’m currently using xD

    I’ve always felt that I had pretty wide tastes, but I guess the sheer length of kdramas has forced me to finetune my preferences😛 I’ll definitely check out Healer!

    Like

    • Ah! I had no idea you were afoodfullife, PTS! 😆 I finally wrote that monster Healer review (it’s here, if you’d like to check it out) – I really hope Healer manages to hit that drama sweet spot for ya! 😊

      Like

  17. Thank you for this review… I am in the middle of my second viewing because the writing is so dynamic. Your review covered every thought I had about the series and then some. I personally thought Eric Mun did a fabulous job as a repressed character dealing with more emotions than he can handle, shutting down at points, a difficult task, especially to make the audience cheer for him, but Mr. Mun pulled it off. See Hyun Jin made Oh Hae Young a living breathing person, her pain just reached into my heart and several times cracked it into several pieces. I can’t wait to see the next drama with these actors. Thank you again for such a well concise, thoughtful review.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, I’m glad you enjoyed this review, Phylis! I totally understand the need to rewatch this lovely show, and I absolutely agree that Eric and Seo Hyun Jin did a great job of bringing their characters to life. If you’re looking for more dramas by these two, I thought Eric did a nice job in Discovery of Love. I also very much enjoyed Seo Hyun Jin in Let’s Eat 2 and King’s Daughter Soo Baek Hyang. A possible way to get more of these two on your screen while waiting for their next projects, perhaps? 😊

      Like

  18. OHYA is one of my favourite romcom ever, i watched it when i was visiting family with limited internet access (i was lucky to download it) and i fell in love because of an OTP i could root for, Do kyung not being a jerk but a lead i could root for (Eric ay have seemed flat bt i honestly loved him in this role) and Hae-young not giving up and trying despite being hurt so badly (instant fan of Seo Hyun Jin), i looved the way they grew towards each other in a very natural way , loved that the side characters were not black and white but grey.
    Did not like how they dealt with the explanation of the vision, and the ending just felt a bit like , oh wait, Do kyung did get into an accident during a vision, we should have an accident , and then have a happy ending with a marriage, –> ending was ok compared to everything else .
    OHYA will always hold a special place in my heart, not only cause of the story and OTP but because on a whim i decided to check out Shinhwa cause of Eric, and fell in love with their music and watched their variety programs (which i never did before).

    Like

    • Yay that you love OHYA too, sia!! 😀 I feel like this show received more flak than it deserved. I actually really liked the melancholic underbelly of this one. Somehow, Show managed to make that melancholy feel sweet and achingly tender. And oh my, Seo Hyun Jin is 😍. She is amazing and wonderful and just so natural. She is a true gem, particularly in a landscape where so many actresses feel almost cookie-cutter in terms of their looks and their acting style. I didn’t like the way the visions were resolved in the end too – that was a pity, since I loved so many other things about this show.

      How fun, that you found Shinhwa through OHYA! I am not much into the k-music scene myself, but I’ve watched the Shinhwa boys in some spots of variety, and they truly are fabulous. I love how comfortable they are with one another, and I love their group dynamic. They look like they’re having so much fun together that you can’t help but grin along with them. 😁

      Like

  19. Pingback: Year In Review: 2016 | The Fangirl Verdict

  20. Your review is amazingly detailed and well written and I agree with you on everything. Oh Hae Young Again is a beautiful examination of human relationships and emotions and some scenes are really poignant.

    However I do have a bone to pick. What Oh Hae Young suffers through is painful and relatable but like you said, her original fiancée did get the short end of the stick. How is the show so easily able to skip over the fact that he was in JAIL? Everybody’s blaming things on him and he’S compromising with his actions but cmon, couldn’t Oh Hae Young once have asked him how he fared in freaking jail? Was he well? Did he eat properly? He suffered too! But no, it was all about what he did to her and left her the day before the wedding. Her pain is excrucutiang but she too sometimes, is unable to see past her own suffering in order to reach out to others. When Do Kyung constantly apologised to her after she found out that he ruined her wedding, she was so emotionally riled that she asked for his pride, despite knowing how much pride meant to him, and that’s not okay with me at all. Maybe that’s what couples do, lash out in the worst possible way? I guess. But still, the show stakes pride against love and that’s really unfair. Pride is integral to an individual’s identity and dignity. Pride is not some sacrifice to prove true love.

    Not to mention the self-pity. So much of it. Her constant ramblings about how miserable and unlucky she is and how the universe is against her made me irritated. Just once, i would have liked to hear her express gratitude for what she already has. But she is constantly embroiled in tha awful self-pity, maybe to help viewers sympathiser with her but that isn’t an admirable quality at all, atleast in my eyes.In some ways,both Oh Hae Youngs are self-centred.

    Oof. Sorry for the rant. Oh Hae Young Again is an amazing drama but people are so caught up in it that they become blind to its weaknesses. Your review was the only really well written and rounded one. Thanks for the treat!

    Like

    • Glad you loved the show, Torie! And I absolutely get what you’re saying about Hae Young being self-focused in her pain, and lacking empathy. I guess it’s much easier for us to observe this as viewers, and say that she should’ve done the more mature, more empathetic thing. At the same time, I think Show is choosing to show us that Hae Young really is that flawed (as so many people are). Also, I think Show is showing us something that is quite real; when you’re in a lot of pain, it’s really really hard to look beyond your own pain to recognize the pain in someone else. Perhaps Show was trying to show us that Hae Young was in that much pain; that she hurt so much that she just did not have it in her to look beyond it. Just my thoughts; hope it helps to take the edge off your Hae Young peeves! 😉

      Like

  21. This is my first, picking up a show merely based on your A-
    You my friend, know a gem when you see one!!! *warm squishy hug*
    Love your review, so deep and sound. *more hugs*

    Ah, the show….
    They say ~NEVERLAND~ is for real.
    It is in our mind and we won’t see it until our heart understand and accepts the secret of life & death.
    These, and many more such thoughts were running in my mind as I was watching this poignantly soft and sweet show!

    We all appreciate a good love story. A real one!
    A story where the characters are flawed. In real way.
    Has a smart-assy and strong female lead. True fighter.
    A Male lead who loves, and loves like his life depends on it.
    Characters that play by their own rules or make them up as they go along.
    And a possibility of real life emotions.
    The show has all of this and so much more.

    What can I say except that I LOVED-LOVED-LOVED the show!
    Simple story, told in a relatable way, with a good dash of humor.
    Such strong actors potraying their emotions in a raw and real way.

    The basic premise of the show:
    When you have near-death experience, what will you regret?
    And
    If our lives are just flashbacks, what would you do differently?
    The growth curve of Eric from this simple premise is what gives the show its emotional impact.
    His realization of his own mortality via flashbacks and how he embraces that truth was very uplifting for me to watch.
    Love the BOOM moment when he realizes a little later in the show that what will happen tomorrow, he will create it today.
    Such a liberating thought for him and as his viewers to watch his self-realization.
    And whada amazing female lead to match him in every step of self-actualization.
    Oh Hae Young shall be be my top 3 favorite female leads. Like ever!

    Like you said, its not perfect storytelling, but there is so much to take home from this show that I feel magnanimous enough to ignore it all.
    The ending…hmmm yes, could have been stronger, but since they got an extension, I believe they paced it out lazily trying to balance poignance with some ill-placed humor 🙂

    In the end, I just walked away with how much Eric learns to smile bigger, love better, value what matters, laugh louder, and focus right…which is his on the love-of-his-life.
    Such a bloom.
    I never expected a mere show to pierce me as quickly as or as deeply as this one did. I truly had a very amazing Kdrama watching experience with Oh Hae Young again. A gem. Truly.

    ~N~

    Like

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed this one, N.. like you said, it’s somehow bigger than the sum of its parts. The flaws in storytelling somehow become less important, when Show is managing to tease out the intricacies of our characters and their relationships in such sensitive and thought-provoking ways. I loved this one despite some of the flak the show received from other viewers, and I’m so, so glad you picked up this one and that my rating didn’t let you down! Big hugs, my dear. ❤

      Like

  22. Started watching this show just the other day and can’t stop myself from growing more and more fond of it after each episode. I just love everything about this show and the OST’s make me love the love story of the main characters even more. I am about to start episode 15 and decided to look for a review because I am hoping badly that Hae Young and Do Kyung will have a happy ending. I have invested a lot of emotions in this show and I think your review has put all my thoughts and feelings into words, but in a more detailed and accurate way though. Thanks for this review. This show is definitely one of my few favorite K-dramas now.

    Like

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