In the spirit of making better use of my drama hours – and making better use of time in general – I’m calling it quits earlier on this show than I would, normally. Usually, if I can make it past the first episode or two of a show, I like to give it another couple of episodes at least, y’know, to give Show a chance to pull me into its story properly.
Lately, though, my drama hours have been much more limited than before, because I’ve been in the thick of getting ready to move (houses, not countries). And, I’ve also learned a lesson with the moving; when you have very little space to accommodate all your stuff, you quickly learn to set the bar a lot higher, and become a lot more ruthless about culling stuff. Turns out it works the exact same way with drama hours; because my drama hours are so much fewer now, I find myself setting the bar a lot higher, and becoming a lot more ruthless about dropping dramas.
Who knew, that moving house would teach me such an important lesson about managing my drama hours, and honing my Dropping Reflex? Heh.
FIRST, THE POSITIVES
I don’t have that many positives to share in this section, unfortunately. Maybe it’s because I only watched 2 episodes out of Show’s 16, and therefore didn’t stick around long enough to actually get to know Show’s upsides. Here’s what I’ve got, after watching 2 episodes.
1. I liked the hints of vulnerability that peek out under Soo Ho’s (Doo Joon) cold and prickly armor, and I wanted to see more of that.
2. Although I had some trouble getting used to Kim So Hyun in this role, by the end of episode 1, I did feel like there was more to Geu Rim’s character than going to the ends of the earth to snag her DJ or her radio show guest, and I felt like I wouldn’t mind sticking around to learn more about what made her tick.
3. I thought Geu Rim’s scene with Mom (Kim Ye Ryeong), snuggling under the covers while listening to the radio, was sweet.
STUFF THAT DIDN’T WORK FOR ME
For the record, it took me two separate attempts to get through episode 1, which means that pretty much right away, I wasn’t feeling this one. In my head, this also means that I did give Show a second chance, since I eventually ended up finishing episode 1, and even went on to episode 2.
Unfortunately, my foray into episode 2 only turned up more downsides. Here’s the quick rundown:
1. It feels formulaic
Generally speaking, this show feels rather formulaic to me, with a lot of kdrama rom-com shorthand being thrown about: Geu Rim’s name (which sounds like picture/painting in Korean), and her desire to paint pictures with her words (I do like the backstory for why, even though it’s a little cliched that she’d have a blind mom who can only see through hearing); her talent, which is dismissed as rubbish by the head writer; Geu Rim’s messy hair, which hints at how her life is kind of messed up; a curt male lead who acts cold, but is nursing a crush on the female lead, from years back; a picture-perfect family for the male lead, which is but a facade.
I know that this is pretty standard kdrama stuff, but somehow, to my eyes, everything felt overly cliched and nothing really felt organic.
2. The general aesthetic didn’t look good to me
To make matters worse, all the copper hair and orangey lips on everyone just looks bad. Almost every character with any sort of narrative significance sports hair that is dyed a shade of red, copper or something in-between. I don’t know.. that aesthetic just didn’t work for me, and it felt weird to be in a world that had such an.. orange bent to it.
On top of that, Doo Joon’s eyes look bloodshot, all the time. I usually like Doo Joon a lot (loved him so much, in Let’s Eat and Let’s Eat 2!), but I literally found it hard, to watch him. Something felt off to me, like he was uncomfortable in the role or something. Also, every time I saw his bloodshot eyes, I wanted to offer him eye drops, and also, urge him to see an eye doctor, immediately.
3. Geu Rim’s behavior
I didn’t think it was reasonable of Geu Rim to insist on pushing the issue in episode 2, when Soo Ho declined the offer to come on her radio show. I mean, if the guy has made it clear that he doesn’t want to be on the radio, it’s unseemly and unreasonable, to me, to force the issue, even if he has said some unpleasant things. I felt that Geu Rim – or any reasonable person in her place – should have backed off from Soo Ho, instead of coming up with new ways to snag him for her show.
Yes, I know that basically makes up the entire premise of our story, but really, doesn’t Geu Rim’s persistence come off as dense and aggressive, when the other party has clearly said no?
4. A lot of stuff feels staged and try-hard
There were quite a few things in these two episodes that struck me as try-hard. Here are 3 examples.
Exhibit A: Director Lee Kang’s character (Yoon Park), all weirdly togged out in a mishmash of Indian clothes and hiking gear in episode 1, spewing “Namaste” at everyone. This all just gave me bad fake Indian monk vibes a la Strong Woman Do Bong Soon. I cringed every single time Director Lee appeared in his strange outfit and serenely piped “Namaste.”
Exhibit B: The addition of the live-in psychiatrist (Kwak Dong Yun) also feels very stagey and try-hard. His copper hair, fashionable duds and so-called witty lines did nothing to endear him to me, and I just wanted him to disappear from my screen, every time he appeared. Which is really sad, because I have a lot of affection for Kwak Dong Yun from his wonderful turn in Moonlight Drawn By Clouds. Unfortunately, his character here just really rubbed me the wrong way.
Exhibit C: The staged show-family thing also did not sit well with me. I think Show intends for the staged family thing to come across as edgy, dark and dysfunctional. But to me, it just felt.. staged and try-hard, and therefore not very interesting at all.
DECIDING ON GOODBYE
The thing is, despite ALLL of the stuff that wasn’t working for me in this show, when Soo Ho shows up and swoops in to save the day at the end of episode 2, my heart wobbled a bit, and I felt like I might be able to hang in there with this show, just a little longer.
Pfft. How very shallow of me, eh? But, I also had the distinct feeling that if I did hang in there with this show, that it wouldn’t magically turn into an excellent watch, and also, that Future Me wasn’t going to be at all impressed with Past Me’s decision-making. And so, keeping my eye on the goal – which is to make better use of my limited drama hours, and to generally have as enjoyable a drama journey as I possibly can – I decided that it was time for goodbye, with this one.
I’m sorry, Doo Joon. I love you, but I guess I just don’t love you enough. 😛