The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Flash Review: If We Were A Season [Drama Special]

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It isn’t often that I fall in instant like with a show (it usually takes several episodes, before I feel fully engaged with a show and its characters), but this one – this one – had me at hello.

Literally, within the first few seconds of having this show on my screen, I felt like this was something that I would like. A cheerful Spring palette, an abundance of spring blossoms, easy-breezy music, and a general lightness that I found very  appealing indeed. I couldn’t help but gobble it all up, immediately.

Fair warning: this does turn up the angst partway through, but to Show’s credit, it feels meaningful and heartfelt. And importantly, it doesn’t feel like too much, in the overall scheme of things.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT

Hye Rim (Chae Soo Bin) and Gi Seok (Jang Dong Yoon) grow up as next door neighbors, and over the years, behave more like a married couple than as friends. One day, a new student Dong Gyeong (Jin Young) transfers to their class, and he’s bold and quick in expressing his feelings for Hye Rim. Will Dong Gyeong manage to gain Hye Rim’s affections?

STUFF I LIKED

Given Show’s very short running time of just an hour, there are flaws that I count as par for the course. Some plot points aren’t very well fleshed-out, for example, and sometimes, it felt a smidge like I was watching a highlight reel of a longer show. But, all things considered, Show did a solid job of telling its story, so I won’t delve into its shortcomings. Instead, here’s just the quick spotlight on the positives.

Chae Soo Bin as Hye Rim

I recently very much enjoyed Chae Soo Bin in I’m Not A Robot, and was pleased to have her on my screen again. Girl does not disappoint, and imbues her character Hye Rim with a warmth and ease that makes Hye Rim not only feel like a real person, but a real person I liked and could relate to.

Minutes into Show, I loved Hye Rim already. [MINOR SPOILER] I love that she isn’t afraid to kinda-sorta ask for a ride from heretofore estranged Gi Seok, after he saves her from her fall. I love even more, that when she sees that he’s hurt his hand from saving her, she takes charge and takes him pillion instead. Love. [END SPOILER]

Jang Dong Yoon as Gi Seok

Prior to this show, I was pretty ambivalent towards Jang Dong Yoon, coz I hadn’t enjoyed him all that much in School 2017. Happily, I did find Jang Dong Yoon more engaging here. He makes a pretty great Gi Seok; grumpy, bickery, awkward and jealous, pretty much all at once, and I found myself liking him more than I expected to.

Jin Young as Dong Gyeong

Jin Young doesn’t get as much screen time as our other two main characters, but I must say that he’s pretty much pitch-perfect as the handsome, smooth-talking city boy Dong Gyeong. Dong Gyeong doesn’t have much time to make a fluttery impression on Hye Rim – and on us as an audience! – and Jin Young’s picture-perfect features and charming smile do a fine job, heh.

Hye Rim and Gi Seok together

Hye Rim and Gi Seok are very cute together, and I loved watching them share my screen. They totally are like a little ol’ married couple, except that they’re in high school. The way they bicker and tease, but end up taking care of each other, is the sweetest, most adorable thing. [MODERATE SPOILER] I loved how he goes back to the library to sleep, just so that he can go home with her when she’s done studying, to make sure that she won’t miss her stop coz she tends to sleep on the bus. Cuteness! [END SPOILER]

Ten minutes into my watch, I was already sorry that this isn’t a longer show with more episodes. All because I wanted to see more of these two together.

THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]

Like I said at the beginning of this review, Show turns up the angst as we get deeper into our story. As I got nearer to the end of the hour, my heart grew sad as Gi Seok and Hye Rim drifted apart from each other; the bickering and laughter giving way to distance and awkwardness.

In the face of Hye Rim going away to Seoul, I appreciate that Gi Seok squares his shoulders to see her and say goodbye, with a smile, and a hug. I love that he remembers what she’d said about hugs being perfect for endings, because it means that there’s more to come, and it isn’t really the end. I love that even amidst the tears and the pain of goodbye, there is hope – for a new season; a new chapter; a new start.

Show isn’t explicit about Hye Rim’s true feelings, leaving us as an audience to make what we will, of the information that we are given. I personally believe that Hye Rim likes Gi Seok too, but she’d felt confused about her heart fluttering in the face of Dong Gyeong’s attention. Juxtaposed with the betrayal that she’d felt, at learning that her father had developed feelings for another woman, and that he “couldn’t help it,” Hye Rim likely felt that she had betrayed Gi Seok because her heart had experienced feelings in the direction of someone that wasn’t him, and that she, too, “couldn’t help it.” I’m thinking that because of that, she couldn’t allow herself to be with Gi Seok, because she felt that she wasn’t being completely true to him.

What moves me, though, is that through it all – through time, silence and separation – these two never forgot each other. In fact, they never stopped thinking about each other, and affecting each other, in the deepest of ways.

While we don’t get an ending where we see them experiencing a happy-ever-after together, I feel that I have reason to hope that somewhere in the future, these two will find each other again, as they have, on-again, and off-again, all their lives – only next time, they’ll finally be in a place where they can receive each other with open hearts and open arms.

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Cute, poignant and bittersweet in turn. Short, yet surprisingly affecting.

FINAL GRADE: B+

TEASER:

WATCH IT HERE:

Author: kfangurl

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

16 thoughts on “Flash Review: If We Were A Season [Drama Special]

  1. Thanks, Fangurl! I agree, this show was just adorable. I was invested enough to wish it were much longer, due to the excellent acting from the main trio! Also, when will poor Jin Young get the girl?

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    • Aw, yay that you liked this one too, Mary D! 😀 I wished the same! I can totally see this working out nicely as a full-length 16-episoder. I would’ve loved to have had everything fleshed out more. And then we could’ve also seen the rest of the story, which as yet remains untold. What happened after she went to Seoul? How did they find each other again? Why can’t they make a drama out of this, we could so use more of this endearing stuff in dramaland!

      Ah, poor Jin Young indeed. He’s always the picture perfect, charming second lead. Maybe next time will be the charm? 😛

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  2. good description of them feeling like an old couple:) the way they take care of each other is just so sweet!!! i kept thinking, this two are meant to be together, so when they hinted on the fact that HR had feelings for the new kid on the block, i was like, noooooo…

    anyway, this would make for a good 3-epi drama like page turner, which i also liked!

    like you i really do hope they meet again, after college maybe & lived happily ever after, the end, hahahhahhaaa…

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    • I’m so happy you liked this one too, bugs_bunny! 😀 Yes, the two of them are just adorable together, all grumpy and bickery, but so sweet and caring, underneath it all. ❤ This WOULD be great as a 3-episoder! I loved Page Turner and thought it was the perfect length. Basically, I just want more episodes of these two together, so I'd pretty much take anything, heh! 😂

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  3. This drama left me in a puddle of tears! I should have know I was going to love the actor and just let it go without falling in love with the characters! I just can’t help it, I’m a sucker for a trite old standbye happy ending!

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    • Aw.. there, there *patpat* In my head, these two eventually have a happy ending though. I feel like the bond between these two is just too strong, and that they will surely find each other again, in the future. That helps me a lot, in terms of processing this ending. 🙂

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  4. The first thought that popped up in my head after seeing the header was; ” MLDBC second leads together? A spinoff?” Haha.
    And the second thought after seeing the SECOND picture was; “That looks like it’s out of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST 2017 opening scene”
    And after reading “Hye Rim (Chae Soo Bin) and Gi Seok (Jang Dong Yoon) grow up as next door neighbors, and over the years, behave more like a married couple than as friends. One day, a new student Dong Gyeong (Jin Young) transfers to their class, and he’s bold and quick in expressing his feelings for Hye Rim. Will Dong Gyeong manage to gain Hye Rim’s affections?”, I thought; “Woah,it sounds lot like THE PRODUCERS!”

    Lame jokes aside, I’ve got to say I LOVE CSB. She takes the usual girl-next-door type to a whole new level, a girl you want to have with you forever as your little sis/unni/daughter/grand daughter unlike the coolest,bravest female lead that appears in your new your newest crack drama that you want to make a drinking buddy out of. (Was that sentence-paragraph cohesive? I hope so,heh! )
    She especially shines a LOT if she is given a rich story with a fair amount of veterans that will draw out and polish her delicate expressions and will require her to perform her best.*hint,hint* Have you checked out REBEL?

    Btw, how are you unni? How’s Lady G doing?
    Remember me,I’m Peony from Lady G’s Aurora and After glow threads.*waves hi!* Though I said I’d seek help when I make a blog for myself, I decided to give it a shot alone (Which took me a FULL day) and then perhaps ask you later. 😉 Anyway, I’ve a blog now! Yaay!! Though I won’t be posting frequently,I’m planning to take it slow,into the future.
    Stay healthy,both of you! (And updating,hehe)

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    • Hey there Peony!!! Long time! 😀 Lol. The fact that you could draw so many comparisons to other dramas just goes to show that you’ve been around dramaland for a bit! 😉 I love Chae Soo Bin as well – I was really annoyed with her in Sassy Go Go, but she is very versatile, and plays many of her subsequent roles with a warmth that I really like. I did check out a few eps of Rebel, and I liked what I saw, but I drifted away from it coz I wasn’t quite in the right mood for it. I have vague good intentions of picking it back up again, someday 😝

      Lady G and I are well, thanks for asking! Congrats on your new blog, I hope you’re having fun with it! What’s your blog url? The url that’s linked to your screen name doesn’t take me anywhere; WordPress says the blog doesn’t exist. 😛

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      • Yay! You remember me! And Opps. I just noticed that in my comment there should be a question mark after “Remember me” ,not a comma! I wasn’t ordering you to remember me!! 😉
        Oh, I believe you won’t regret watching REBEL! I LOVED that show,and I’m pretty sure so did everybody who watched it from beginning to the end! If it’s ok with you,I’ll quote what JB and GF said about this in their Year-end podcast because I’m not experienced enough to recommend you a drama (*shy smile*)
        They said;” It was one of the most satisfying shows we had this year!”. There you go.
        What you were saying about not in the right mood for it, yeah I can agree with that. REBEL certainly requires a certain mood,and you can’t watch it just anytime especially not if you’re going through a tough/tiresome time. You should check it out at a time you aren’t feeling jam-packed-scheduled.
        I guess it’s not right talking about REBEL in this thread,but I don’t know where else to put this (and I just can’t stop when I begin on anything,let alone on a beloved drama like this 🙂 You’ve probably noticed by now!) So I’ll try to be laconic.
        It was really well written (compared to most saeguks),tightly packed and performed quite well despite the not having much budget (fighting scenes weren’t the best,but they got the job done), and it definitely is a must-watch if you’re a fan of traditional music and dances and gisaeng costumes of Korea.
        Show lost some of its spark by midway,wait for it…,NOT because of some narrative flow, but mostly because Yoon Kyun-sang was a beginner COMPARED to the veteran Kim Sang-joon and had to try a lot to shine on his own. You’ve to cut him some slack there right? I mean,you can’t just neglect it if you see it clearly that the lead can’t act, but YKS definitely could and had the potential,so all you have to do it just wait patiently until he eventually picks it up. Which he did,towards the latter half,with the unneglectable partnership of screen-stealing Soo-bin. Actually,she too had to give a fight of her own to shine opposite magnificent Honey Lee.
        So I guess in the end it literally became a true underdog story not only plot wise,but also actor-wise,haha.
        Happy that you two are well,thanks for congratulating me! 🙂
        But waah,waaaah…., it’s not like I gave a wrong linked url to my username right? They did and now they say it’s not existing!
        Last time I checked it was still there,huh. Here’s it
        https://peonyplumblossoms.wordpress.com
        I guess the site is not pretty.yet because I’m still checking out the themes and fighting with myself over what’s the best looking one, AND be prepared to some cheesy and silly posts,I apologize for that. I’m trying to be good.And laconic.
        Don’t be spoiled with REBEL posts ok?

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        • Thanks for sharing your love for Rebel, Peony! It does sound like a solid watch, and I did enjoy the initial eps that I watched. I just haven’t felt the urge to go back, but I will keep in mind to give it another go 🙂 I do love Kim Sang Joon, he’s great. And YKS is not bad too 🙂

          Also, don’t worry about posts being cheesy or whatever, it’s your blog, so you get to post what you feel like, right? 🙂 PS: Very impressive, that you made your own egg bread! *drools*

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  5. Somehow, I can relate to Hye Rim. Gi Seok is not a boy anymore for him, but more of a brother. You can never see your brother as a boy, no matter how handsome/cute/beautiful/wonderful/etc he is. A brother is someone you bicker with. Someone you make running errands for you (making you cup noodles when cup noodles is banned by your mom hehe). Someone who’d do anything for you, without you have to do anything in return. Some you can rely on, in rain and shine. Someone you take for granted, simply because he is there and shall always be there. It is what Gi Seok is for her.

    And then this cute Dong Gyeong just appear out of nowhere, making her heart skip a beat. Now, HE IS a boy. He makes her heart flutter. He makes cheesy comments that caught her off-guard. He makes her hyper-aware of his presence. He makes her think of the opposite sex. He is taking her out to a world without Gi Seok. In a resonance to her father’s, she “tried not to, but can’t help it”. And yeah, Jin Young screen time might be so very short compared to the other two, but for me, his presence is the strongest and most impressive. His short screen presence leaves us yearn for more because, well, he simply makes OUR heart flutter haha

    That’s is why I can understand how much she is hurt when GS just shut her out. Losing a best friend is thousand times more hurtful than breaking up with a boyfriend. And that is also why the ending felt really wonderful, because for me he finally accepted her feeling of NOT feeling anything romantic toward him. In the future? Either they stay as best friend while walking separate ways, or taking one way together as married couple. Both are possible, as hinted by the ending (an epilogue episode, please? haha)

    I have a boy as best friend for 30 years. Not in HR-GS terms, though, because we were nowhere like married couple as them heheh. I can never imagine being married to him simply because he is not a boy for me. There were times when strong sexual tension present (in our college years, when we were the closest), but we shied it away as we couldn’t imagine ourselves as couple. We then walk our separate ways, staying as best friend until now. I am married for 20 years to a man that makes my heart flutter, even now…. And my best friend married around the same time as I was!

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    • Aw, that’s such a great story, Widya! Thanks for sharing! ❤ And I totally get what you mean, about not wanting to lose a best friend or a brother. I thought the open-ended note that Show left us on, was very appropriate and well done too. Guess that epilogue episode would have to be limited to our drama imaginations tho 😉

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  6. This was such a sweet one-shot, I wished it was longer! Chae Soo Bin and Jang Dong Yoon really do have incredible chemistry, a slightly longer show would have taken more advantage of that 😉😉

    And maybe it’s because of that chemistry that I end up believing that the one Hye Rim truly loves is Gi Seok, it’s just that she needs time and space away from her father’s betrayal and from the daily closeness she had with Gi Seok, to come to terms with it. I mean, even Reply 1997 had two childhood best friends not seeing each other for seven years after high school and only reconnecting – and their romance truly starting – as adults. (which is why I imagine Hye Rim and Gi Seok following a similar path lol. Though please let them not take seven years to get together!)

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    • Glad you enjoyed this drama special, Skylilies! 😀 You make an excellent point – we did have two childhood friends discover romance in R1997, and the chemistry they shared was pretty great, so why not in this case, right? Personally, I imagine Hye Rim and Gi Seok reuniting in the future after maybe 2 years, and taking it romantic from there. 🙂

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  7. Thank you for your review. I was planning on watching this show, but realized that this might not be my cup of tea as of the moment after reading your post. I’ll put this in my Plan to watch list for future reference. ^_^v

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