The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Dropped: My Absolute Boyfriend [Korea]

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If you’ve been around the blog for a bit, you might know that I like to give shows a chance to win me over, and I often give shows more time than they might deserve, while trying to adjust my lens to find a winning setting that allows me to enjoy the show in question as best as is possible. However, given the current drama landscape where more shows are popping out than ever before (I can hardly keep track of ’em all!), drama quality is more patchy than ever (some wonderful gems, but also, so many duds!), and everyone’s drama tastes are just so varied, I’ve been burned more than a few times, trying to love dramas that I never ended up loving after all.

Case in point, my recent foibles with Chinese drama Well Intended Love, which lots of folks loved, but which never ended up working for me (spoiler: I actually legit hated it).

Now, I don’t hate Absolute Boyfriend, but, I do think it’s time that I learn how to quit while I’m ahead. That’s why I’m dropping Absolute Boyfriend, just 10 episodes in.

WHY I STARTED WATCHING

I watched the Japanese original series years ago, and I don’t remember much about it, except that I didn’t end up loving it, in the end. This, plus the fact that I generally don’t enjoy checking out iteration after iteration of the same franchise, meant that I didn’t have strong plans to check this show out.

But, I was in the mood for something light, and had heard some good things about this show. Also, I’d recently loved Yeo Jin Goo in The Crowned Clown, and wasn’t at all opposed to seeing more of him on my screen. So in I dived.

MY GENERAL TRAJECTORY WITH THIS SHOW

In a nutshell, I actually rather enjoyed Show’s first hour, and left episode 2 curious to see more. That’s a pretty good start, eh?

..Too bad Show didn’t continue to grab me. Over the next several episodes, I felt my interest dip with each passing half hour, until I very nearly dropped Show in the middle of episode 5. But, I wasn’t ready to give up just yet, and pressed on. I was mildly pleased that episodes 9 & 10 were rather more enjoyable than most of the other episodes I’d watched, but honestly, that wasn’t saying a whole lot.

Which is when I decided it was time to write this post.

NOT A BAD START

Like I mentioned earlier, I actually enjoyed episodes 1 & 2 quite well. I did have to give Show a bit of time to let the scattered pieces come into focus as a more comprehensible whole, but I did feel quite quickly engaged, which I counted a big plus.

Here’s a quick rundown of the things that I liked.

1. I found myself rooting for Da Da quite quickly.

I think that’s partly because Bang Min Ah’s personal brand of husky, earthy charm really works for this character, and partly because we see Da Da working to keep her chin up through a fair amount of rude and unfair treatment – while demonstrating quick-thinking, skills and a spirit of excellence about delivering good work.

[SPOILERS] On top of that, she’s a patient and loyal girlfriend who’s been waiting in the shadows for years, while still cheering on her boyfriend. Yes, it’s a touch Candy-ish, but somehow Bang Min Ah manages to make Da Da feel quite real and relatable. I think it’s partly to do with the moments of vulnerability that we see. Da Da’s disbelief, heartbreak and betrayal is clear to see, even in the brief moment that she flashes her gaze up at her boyfriend, who’s just labeled her a stalker in front of everyone. [END SPOILER]

It’s not that Da Da’s a Candy who just never runs out of positivity and cheer; she feels all of the frustration, even as she works so hard, to make things work and be honorable about everything. But even as she pushes through, she still hurts and she still has tears to cry, and she’s also feeling embarrassed and humiliated about it all. And my heart just couldn’t help but go out to her.

2. Ma Wang Joon isn’t quite the cold jerk I thought he would be.

[SPOILER] In the brief moment in the dressing room when Ma Wang Joon (Hong Jong Hyun, whom I do have a soft spot for) and Da Da are together and putting up a show for everyone else, that they’re arguing, the glee they share is really cute, and he looks at Da Da with warmth.

Also, we see moments where he does think of Da Da, like when he got home to his apartment and tried to call Da Da, who he didn’t know was trapped in his bathroom. And he does genuinely look conflicted when he lands on the explanation that she’s a stalker. It’s not a good explanation at all, but in this moment, to my eyes, at least he wasn’t total scum. [END SPOILER]

3. I looked forward to seeing Ma Wang Joon get all jealous when he sees Da Da with a brand new “boyfriend” later in the story.

PETERING OUT [MILD SPOILERS]

Unfortunately, my interest in Show started petering out as soon as episode 3. Show just wasn’t grabbing me as much.

Everything just seemed too cartoony for my taste, despite my trying on a manhwa type lens, and I found all the antics on my screen only mildly entertaining, if at all. I also found myself struggling to see the chemistry among our three leads.

When Show shifted the spotlight in episode 5, to Diana (Hong Seo Young) terrorizing her staff, I very nearly dropped Show right on the spot. Diana just comes across as very caricature-y,  and very, very strange. I mean, she is a wealthy and powerful woman, but behaves like a child – except this child is a tyrant with psychotic tendencies, and a side serving of a bionic hand. She’s like every superhero movie’s supervillain squashed into a child psyche, in the body of an adult woman, and who possesses a thirst for cruelty and violence, and wields it willy-nilly on her cowering staff. Yikes. No, thank you.

There were some brighter spots, like when Ma Wang Joon started to miss Da Da, and got jealous of Zero Nine, but overall, I have to confess that I struggled to care about anything or anyone in this show.

I thought I would care more for Zero Nine’s journey, like I did for Namshin III’s journey in Are You Human Too?, but so far, it seems that all Zero Nine does is operate according to his programming, which is purely to be a sweet boyfriend. It’s just not very swoony if a robot does sweet things for the girl, just because it’s in his programming, y’know? And it totally doesn’t help that the almost-kiss moments just don’t spark for me like Show probably hoped that they would.

Zero Nine really doesn’t show much personality at all, this stretch of the show. Maybe things shift later (I hope they shift later, anyway), but so far, this felt like a big under-utilization of Yeo Jin Goo’s talents.

SAYING GOODBYE

I found episodes 9 & 10 mildly more entertaining, but to be brutally honest, none of the narrative arcs were that compelling to me. They were.. unobjectionable, at best.

I felt tired of seeing Da Da being pushed around at work, I didn’t care about Ma Wang Joon, who was showing possibly even less personality than the robot, and so far, the robot was mostly just.. a robot.

I weighed everything in my head and realized that while I didn’t hate this show, I wasn’t actually looking forward to new episodes either. In fact, I found myself dragging my feet at the thought of watching more episodes of this. That’s never a good sign.

Given what I’ve seen so far, this feels like a potential C+ to me. And since I don’t think a C+ is worth another 11 hours of my life (so much easier, when I put it that way!), this is the end of the road for me, with this one.

I’m sorry, Yeo Jin Goo-sshi. It’s not you.. it’s the show. Really. 😛

Author: kfangurl

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

15 thoughts on “Dropped: My Absolute Boyfriend [Korea]

  1. I also dropped this one , I hang in there until I can’t already.

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    • Lol! You too? I thought you would finish it! 😆 How far did you get with this one, Nancy? 😋

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      • I thought the drama will end at episode 32 , that’s why I’m still watching, when i learn at ep 29 I still have to endure until ep 40 , i opt out hahaha

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        • Hahaha! I can just imagine your horror at E29, discovering that you had MANY more episodes to go than you’d anticipated! 😆 Well, if you made it that far and still dropped it, I feel more assured that dropping out early is the right decision for me! 😉

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  2. I didn’t even started. It feels like yesterday since I started reading the manga when it was published (in the magazine, not the tb) and like so often Watase-san gave us her typical dark ending. Even when I saw it coming and always was rooting for the 2nd ML more, it was such a waste of time. So, a Drama based on this can’t get me. Not even when KDrama tends to change scripts.
    I love fluffy Dramas but that isn’t for me. There are so many cool Dramas with Androids, I prefer watching them to satisfy my sci-fi heart than any Zettai Kareshi Live Action.

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    • Oh dear, sounds like the manga burned you, Usi! 😛 If the manga had a dark ending, I’m pretty sure the kdrama wouldn’t veer too far off from it, even if it makes other changes along the way. At least, that’s the pattern I’ve noticed so far – though there could always be an exception, of course. Sounds like you were wise to avoid this one, since it would’ve been unlikely to work for you.. Some folks are still enjoying this one, but I personally couldn’t get into it, and feel like the 5 hours I spent weren’t very worth my while, after all! 😅

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  3. Hi Fangurl – Diana was way too much for me and I thought I would get diabetes from the sweetness of Zero Nine. But the writing was the real reason I left this. My point of no return was at episode 17 after DaDa left food for the ex. Yeo Jin Goo is way too talented for this fare.

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    • I had the same feeling as you, phl, that this was a massive underuse of Yeo Jin Goo’s talents.. As far as I watched, there was nothing much required of Zero Nine except to smile sweetly and occasionally look confused when “Girlfriend” didn’t react as expected. The way Zero Nine kept starting every sentence with the declaration “Girlfriend!” also wore on me. 🙄 I do agree though, that the writing did not work for me – and oh my goodness, Diana was absolutely way too much. She seemed like the devil in women’s clothes, channeling a child psyche. 😝

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  4. Ohhh. It was 12 (6) episodes for me. I did feel sorry for Da Da – she was faced with two extremes re the “men” in her life, neither of which worked for me as characters.

    For one fleeting moment I was excited by the robotic technology on offer and the challenges of making it reliable, but that fell away quickly too.

    It did have a good underlying theme – what do you do with those things that no longer work – do you horde them (the bane of my existence at home)?, repurpose or rebuild them?, or do you discard them altogether?

    In his novel Forward The Foundation Isaac Asimov had Dors Venabili, a robot, say to her human husband “You loved me and your love made me – human”. So many shows have attempted this approach, but only a handful have done it successfully. Alas, for me, My Absolute Boyfriend was not one of them.

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    • You made it a little farther than I did, Sean! 😅 I had the same experience, in that neither Ma Wang Joon nor Zero Nine worked for me as characters. There was just something missing, that prevented me from engaging with the characters, and even Da Da felt distant to me, after some time. In comparison, despite Are You Human Too’s absurd and melodramatic approach, I found that I engaged with that so much more than I did with this one. It’s a tricky subject, robots attempting to become human, and yeah, this one just wasn’t one of the ones that worked for me. 🤷‍♀

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  5. The short version of this comment is that I also dropped this show.
    The longer comment involves a back and forth on even starting it, since I hated the Japanese version and thought it was silly and banal and had a typical Japanese female lead i.e. one I wanted to stab.

    But I love Yeo Jin-goo and a friend of mine loves robots and we decided to roll around in this trash together. But, the funny thing was, the beginning wasn’t trash. At all.

    I thought the whole setup and execution of the show for the first half was deft, especially considering how they dealt with elements of the original text. The contrast of her relationship with Wang joon and her relationship with Zero Nine made strong points about relationships needing to be equal and reciprocal. It came down strongly on the side of selflessness being toxic in the long-term. She was essentially Zero Nine in her relationship with Wang-joon and Wang-joon in her relationship with Zero Nine and that contrast was done well. Neither relationship was real or fulfilling, regardless of any emotions involved. Her utter selflessness and devotion made her essentially a relationship bot and that only made her unhappy.

    Now I didn’t do anything stupid like get my hopes up. The show was 20 episodes, entirely pre-produced and took so long to find a broadcast slot that I didn’t expect it to maintain it throughout and, in fact, fully expected it to lose it in the back half.
    And, ultimately, that’s what it did for me. I thought the first ten episodes were really strong and had something surprisingly interesting to say. Dada found herself in both positions in a relationship and, if the show ever remembered that she was supposed to be the main character, then it could have had something great to say. And then… ah, well, it was inevitable.

    So, yeah, Dropped.

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  6. Dropped around the same episode.
    The show made less and less sense, included Robot’s evolution. Yes, Are you human too, despite its makjangness, was a much better robot show… and I cared for Roboshin so much!

    Time to move on, there are better shows around… and hopefully Hotel de Luna will be a better choice for Yeo Jing Gu.

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  7. Hey Kfangurl. Ive been reading your reviews and I agree with most of your reviews except for HWARANG which u dropped. hihihi! I know we are all have our own ipinions and likes. BTW, I have been looking at your list coz im dying to hear how you would rate/review Mr. Sunshine but it seems you havent watched it yet. I highly recommend it to you and sooooo looking forward on what you are about to say about this historical drama which is now my most like of all time. Hope soon you will consider watching it too.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Heavy sigh. I can’t say you’re wrong at all. I’m okay with cartoony but I think 12 episodes of this would’ve been two too many.

    Oh my goodness! I just popped over to AsianWiki to see how long this is going to be and – I accidentally clicked on the Japanese original and it was only 11 episodes – K-version is 40! Well 20! That’s still waaaay too long. I thought i should be able to push through them but now I’m not so sure.

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