So.. 7 episodes in, I’m officially calling it quits on Bad and Crazy, you guys.
For the record, I don’t think it’s a bad show, necessarily. I just don’t think it’s a show that’s for me, personally.
I hope this post helps you to figure out whether this one’s for you, or whether, like me, you’d be better off investing your drama hours elsewhere.
MY TRAJECTORY WITH THIS SHOW
I’d really wanted to like this one, y’all.
First of all, it’s from the team that gave us The Uncanny Counter, and I liked that show a lot. I was hopeful that I would like this one too, just based on that fact alone.
Secondly, I do have a fondness for Wi Ha Joon, and the idea of him being Lee Dong Wook’s badass alter ego intrigued me. I mean, Wi Ha Joon showing some swag, and some killer fight moves? Yes, please, and thank you. 🤩
Unfortunately, I find myself struggling to get into the flow, with this show.
MY MAIN STRUGGLE: SHOW’S TONE
I realize that my main struggle with this show, is its tone.
I mean, I’d kinda known what I was signing up for, when I started this show, because I’d seen a trailer, and also, I’d heard that it’s best to approach this one with a comic book lens. However, what I hadn’t counted on, was how that fever dream quality would affect Show’s dynamic, and how that would affect my personal ability, to roll with the show.
At the heart of it, I feel that this show is just a little too loud, too hyperbolic, and too OTT, for my taste.
Layered on top of that, is the fact that Show’s intense fever dream sort of approach, is very tricky to sustain. When it goes on for too long, I find myself starting to tire, because I only have so much appetite, for a sustained rollercoaster ride and the screaming adrenaline that goes with.
YET, when Show slows down to include a few quieter beats, I find the contrast too great, and I find myself feeling bored, because we’re not on a rollercoaster. It’s a conundrum, that’s for sure.
Although, like I said, could very well be a “me” thing, because there are many fans who think this show is awesome, and can’t get enough of it.
WHAT KEPT ME GOING: THE PROMISE OF GROWTH
That would be two-fold.
1. I looked forward to growth on the part of our protagonist Soo Yeol (Lee Dong Wook), to leave his sleazy dirty cop ways behind, and embrace his inner righteous hero.
2. I liked the idea of Soo Yeol and his alter ego K (Wi Ha Joon) going from almost-enemies, to becoming united, as they recognize the good in each other, or more specifically, as Soo Yeol comes to embrace K as a good part of himself.
These are the two main things that kept me hanging on, even during the times when I felt perplexed with Show’s handling.
SOME HIGH-LOW HIGHLIGHTS
In the interest of giving you guys a better feel for the drama, to see if this is your cup of tea, here’s a quick spotlight on some of the main things, in this show.
1. It’s a different sort of role for Lee Dong Wook.
Soo Yeol’s a schmuck, but he’s not a detestable schmuck, in my estimation. I think it’s because we see that he’s not actually evil or malicious; he’s just very self-focused and ambitious, and is amoral as a result. He doesn’t mind doing illegal stuff, if it will further his career.
On paper that does sound pretty terrible, considering that he’s a police officer, but because Show makes sure to let us know that he’s not quite a smooth or successful as he’d like to be, it definitely takes a lot of the edge off. He’s more of a.. thwarted, derailed, frustrated schmuck. It’s like.. he’s a wannabe, rather than a legitimate powerful villain, and that makes him.. a little amusing, even?
I appreciate how Lee Dong Wook’s throwing himself into the role; there’s no vanity here, and there are times when Soo Yeol really does come off as a hapless, frustrated, defeated loser. I think this thing, where all his efforts to further his career, are actually quite fruitless, makes him more palatable as a character – or at least, more entertaining.
[MINOR SPOILERS] And of course, he’s most entertaining when he’s completely flummoxed by his encounters with K, whether it’s in slo-mo dream sequences where he’s getting beaten up, or whether it’s in encounters that feel more real and in the present. [END SPOILER]
Lest I give the wrong impression about Soo Yeol, I suppose it’s also important to mention that he’s actually really good at his job, in the way that he wants to be. I like a competent protagonist, so that’s a plus in my books.
2. Wi Ha Joon gets to be cool and badass.
The strut; the swag; the sharp ninja-like fight moves; I couldn’t help but spazz at it, can’t lie. Wi Ha Joon makes K come across as unhinged, but still in full control of what he’s doing, and what he wants to do. I find that a really interesting juxtaposition.
However, I do have to mention that I struggled with how Show also makes K very childlike.
[SPOILERS] It makes narrative sense, in that Show posits that Soo Yeol’s psychiatric problems stem from his childhood. Therefore, if K is a product of Soo Yeol’s childhood, it makes sense for him to have childlike tendencies.
At the same time, this childlike bent does give rise to narrative arcs that I didn’t enjoy so much. Like K’s innocent crush on Soo Yeol’s ex-girlfriend Hee Gyeom (Han Ji Eun) is a bit too exaggerated. Also, K’s lack of self-control, thus giving rise to embarrassing situations for Soo Yeol, wasn’t one of my favorite things either. [END SPOILER]
3. I feel rather indifferent towards Han Ji Eun’s character Hee Gyeom
Han Ji Eun’s also in a very different space in this drama, compared to the last few shows I’ve seen her in, like The Witch’s Diner, My Roommate is a Gumiho, Lovestruck in the City and Be Melodramatic.
Here, she’s neither shy and reserved, nor hypersexy; she’s a badass cop with a passionate personality, and with sharp fight moves that she doesn’t hesitate to break out, when she feels they’re needed.
That said, I have to confess that I find myself not quite feeling her character, most of the time. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I feel like I want her to pop more, on my screen. As far as I can tell, it feels like she’s supposed to be the straight guy to Lee Dong Wook’s character, but I’m not really feeling it.
4. The connection between Soo Yeol and K
I really like how both Lee Dong Wook and Wi Ha Joon manage to channel such a similar brand of chaotic energy, that I can plausibly believe that they are both playing the same character. I thought that was very well done.
I also like the shift in how Show portrays scenes where K is present, by the episode 4 mark.
Instead of seeing K through the entire scene, we now get shots of Soo Yeol interspliced with shots of K performing the same movements, and the resulting effect is pretty cool.
I’m impressed that Lee Dong Wook and Wi Ha Joon manage to perform their fight scenes, such that they both exude the same energy while delivering the same movements. I imagine that’s hard to do, and they pull if off really nicely.
The other thing I like, is how Soo Yeol and K are more cooperative with each other by this point in our story, and even work as partners.
Of course, there are teething problems, like [SPOILER] K giving all of Soo Yeol’s slush money away, while Soo Yeol goes berserk at not having enough money to pay rent for his fancy apartment, and Soo Yeol then trying to sneak in some shady dealings to store up some slush money – only to have K sneak in later, to bust the whole thing apart. [END SPOILER]
I have to admit, though, that I like the idea of all this, more than I do the execution. There’s something a little OTT about the execution, that’s not really doing it for me. Like, I feel like Soo Yeol’s a little too aggrieved, and K is a little too little-boy gleeful, and that perplexes me.
THE THING IS, THOUGH..
..I found that I didn’t care much, really, about what happens in our story world, despite the silver linings.
I even found myself not really keeping track of side character names, because, not only do most of them get killed off anyway, I found that I didn’t have a lot of interest, in what happens to everyone.
Also (and this is a pretty big thing, actually), I find that I’m not into Show’s brand of humor, which tends to lean broad, and also, occasionally manic.
Show does serve up a couple of nice-ish twists within its first 7 episodes, that kept me interested enough to keep going, at least for a bit, but that didn’t quite prove to be enough, unfortunately.
It was when I was about a third of the way through watching episode 7, that it suddenly clicked for me, that I am simply not invested in this show or these characters.
I also found the scene, where Soo Yeol and K are stuck in the delivery van, and K is very exaggeratedly thirsty, and insists on drinking water despite Soo Yeol’s protests, thus leading to Soo Yeol having to relieve himself into the bottle which had contained the water, rather too crass for my liking. 😬
Along similar lines, I also realize that just about everything, and just about everyone, in this drama world, is just too in-yo-face, loud and OTT for my taste.
I do like the glimmers of bromance between Lee Dong Wook and Wi Ha Joon, and the glimpses of growth in Soo Yeol, but to be brutally honest, it’s just not enough to outweigh the stuff that’s not working for me personally.
I’m a little bummed that this one didn’t work out for me, but it’s nice to know that, 1, lots of other people enjoy this show, and 2, Lee Dong Wook and Wi Ha Joon are clearly having a whale of a time, making this drama together.
The next drama I’ll be covering on Patreon, in place of Bad and Crazy, is Reset [China]. I’ve taken an initial look, and it really promises to be as fantastic as everyone says! My E1 notes on Reset are now up on Patreon!
Here’s an overview of what I’m covering on Patreon right now (Tier benefits are cumulative)!
Foundation Tier (US$1): Happiness (bonus show!)
Early Access (US$5): +Our Beloved Summer
Early Access Plus (US$10): +The Red Sleeve
VIP (US$15): +Uncle