I am calling it quits on this one, you guys.
26.5 episodes into this show’s 40, I have hit a Serious Brick Wall. I just can’t with this show, anymore. Now I kinda wish I had been less patient with this show. Like, if I’d been quicker to judge this one as boring and underwhelming as so many other viewers did before me, maybe I wouldn’t have ended up wasting so much time on this one, y’know?
Oh well. I suppose this is one of those times when you guys can maybe learn from my mistakes.. because then it wouldn’t have all been for nothing?
STUFF THAT KEPT ME GOING FOR AS LONG AS I DID
The thing that annoys me about this whole situation, is that I didn’t actually like this one right away. In fact, I had to work to like it. I’d found the first 2 episodes kind of boring, and I’d found it odd, that Jung Sun (Yang Se Jong) would abruptly ask out Hyun Soo (Seo Hyun Jin), out of the blue.
But, because I didn’t want to be too quick to condemn a show, I pressed on, and for a moderately good stretch, I found things to enjoy in this one.
1. Jung Sun and Hyun Soo together.
After the initial set-up, which I found a bit unwieldy, I was happy to realize that Seo Hyun Jin and Yang Se Jong have very good chemistry together. When they’re bantering, it feels so organic, fun and good-natured. When they’re studiously avoiding each other, the air between them always feels charged with unspoken meaning. And when they’re kissing, it feels so raw and real. I can believe that these two are real people with real feelings for each other.
[SPOILER] For the record, the train kiss in episode 4 which seemed to bother a lot of other viewers, didn’t bother me. In fact, I actually found the train kiss reasonably organic to the story. The two of them had been drawn to each other for a while, and had just spent the day together, with thrills and spills and heartfelt conversations. In the moment, I could believe that he would tell her he wanted to kiss her, and actually act on it. [END SPOILER]
On top of the OTP chemistry, I liked that the OTP conversations tended to be more honest than coy, which felt refreshing to see, in a drama.
2. The promise of bromance.
I thought the budding bromance between Jung Sun and Jung Woo (Kim Jae Wook) was cute. I liked the way they joked with each other in the earlier episodes, and wanted to see how their friendship would grow, especially since Jung Woo seemed to admire Jung Sun’s culinary skills so much.
As a bonus, Kim Jae Wook looks very dapper and handsome in this show. I was not opposed to the bonus eye candy at all, heh.
3. Hyun Soo’s parents
Hyun Soo’s parents don’t get a whole lot of screen time, but I liked them whenever they showed up on my screen. I love this screenshot of them, from E9-10, when they go over to spend the night with their daughter coz they know she’s going through a tough time, and greet her with a three-way bear hug. Just, so heartwarming. <3
THE ROAD TO DROPSVILLE
The thing is, there were a lot of things that I didn’t enjoy in this drama.
Basically, so many of the secondary characters in this drama world behaved badly, that I started to feel like this was a highly dysfunctional drama world.
The two most unlikable characters in this drama world
The two biggest offenders in this category, are Hong Ah (Jo Bo Ah) and Jung Sun’s mom (Lee Mi Sook), who were pretty much mirror images of each other. They were both extremely vain, whiny, entitled, self-indulgent, self-centered, petulant, prone to tantrums & pity parties, and they both seemed incapable of consideration for others. Worse, they both seemed to feel like they were not responsible for their own behavior; other people had forced their hands, and therefore, they often talked to the people around them in distinctly accusing tones.
Just one such character would’ve been bad enough; I can’t understand why writer-nim decided that we needed two such divas on our screens. I went through a brief phase where I wondered whether Hong Ah was driven more by insecurity than actually being that full of herself, but I changed my mind soon enough, when Hong Ah demonstrated that she was very much self-aware, yet continued to be more and more calculative and spiteful as we got deeper into our story.
I found Hong Ah’s self-awareness both fascinating and repulsive, at the same time. The fact that she could explain in such a detailed and articulate fashion, why she behaved so terribly towards Hyun Soo, is fascinating. The fact that she could understand the mechanics of it, and keep on doing it, without any sense of regret, is repulsive. She seemed to literally think that no one’s feelings mattered, except her own, and I disliked that, a lot.
The real road to Dropsville
Still, as bad as Mom and Hong Ah were, they weren’t quite the thing that put me on the road to dropping this show.
That dubious honor goes to Jung Woo.
[SPOILER] At around the episode 18 mark, Jung Woo decides to actively pursue Hyun Soo, even though he knows that Hyun Soo is happily dating Jung Sun. He then proceeds to do everything in his power to make each of them as helplessly dependent on him as he can, in order to gain the upper hand.
I just couldn’t understand this. Not only has Hyun Soo made her feelings clear, that she does not feel anything romantic for him, Jung Woo’s own feelings aren’t clear either. Throughout the show, he never seemed to be crazy about Hyun Soo in any capacity. He only seemed to want her affection for himself, because that affection and loyalty appeared desirable to him. Plus, he looked utterly miserable, even as he consciously put things into motion that would make Jung Sun and Hyun Soo miserable too.
Basically, the more Jung Woo drove Jung Sun and Hyun Soo into their corners, the less fun this show was to watch. This was The Thing that made me start to actively think about dropping this show. [END SPOILER]
THE LAST STRAW [SPOILERS]
Earlier in the show, I’d felt conflicted about Won Joon (Shim Hee Sup) continuing to carry a torch for Hong Ah even though she behaved so terribly towards him. Did I want to admire him for his unconditional love for her, or shake him out of his blindness, I wondered.
By mid-series, I decided that I wanted to shake him out of it. Not because his love for her was stupid; there is something very special about a guy who continues to love you despite your terrible failings. The problem here was that he let her walk all over him and didn’t try to correct her beyond the occasional nagging remark.
That’s why I loved the scene in episodes 21 & 22, when Soo Jung (Chae So Young) made her confession to Won Joon in front of Hong Ah. I loved, too, that later, when he thanked her for lying, that she told him honestly – and with a twinkle in her eye – that she wasn’t lying. I really wanted for these two to start dating, and for Won Joon to finally be treated nicely by the girl he liked. I wanted Hong Ah out of his life, for good.
By the time I started on episode 27, though, I’d come across the spoiler that Won Joon ends up with Hong Ah in the end, and I was Not Pleased, to say the least.
Around 15 minutes into episode 27, Hong Ah appeared on my screen, and behaved as snappishly at Won Joon as ever, and that was THE moment I realized I was done with this show. I just couldn’t tolerate the thought that Show was actually rewarding such a truly awful character, by giving her a happy-ever-after with a sweet, patient guy who deserved so much better.
Just, how could you, Show? *cries* Know that I will forever hold it against you.