29 June, 2012

At the Halfway Point with "A Gentleman's Dignity"

First off, I'm really enjoying this show.  A lot.  Right now, it's definitely the show that slides down the easiest, and it's just one more reason for me to enjoy the weekends.  That doesn't mean that it doesn't have its share of problems and clichés and what not, but man, I still like it a whole lot.

Secondly, I have no problem with Kim Eun-sook, the writer, like a lot of viewers seem to have.  I haven't finished Secret Garden (2010) (yet...), I enjoyed City Hall (2009) a whole lot, and I do plan on watching Lovers In Prague (2005) one of these days, since I'm pretty sure that I'm going to need a Kim Joo-hyuk fix after God of War (2012) ends.  I have found her style quick, fun, and enjoyable, and in one case (City Hall), emotionally gratifying.  Her characters (and main couples) usually have good rapport to work with, and lots of chemistry (though that's due to the actors and actresses, heaven bless 'em).

Now, since this is drama is ALL about couples, I'm stealing deewaanifordrama's format that was used for her first I Do, I Do post.  Thanks Eonni :)
Relationship 1: Kim Do-jin (Jang Dong-gun) and Seo Yi-soo (Kim Hanuel).  Our main couple... whom are the couple that I have the most gripes with.  I feel like Yi-soo kind of got the short end of the stick in the character department, and she's been dumbed down for some humor.  I like her, but I feel like the character is kind of bland in comparison to Do-jin, the handsome, roguish bachelor who also... does all kinds of awkward, dorky things, especially in front in Yi-soo, whom he falls for about 43,000 times.  Yeah, he falls for her a lot, which I think helps in the likability department.  Yi-soo, on the other hand, never seems to understand the full picture, and has been denying her feelings for Do-jin forever.  Happily, they've seemed to come to an understanding now, but it took ten full episodes to get there.  I like them as a couple, the actors have good chemistry (not the sizzling kind that Cha Seung-won/Kim Sun-ah and Hyun Bin/Ha Ji-won gave us, but it's still really good), and I think it can only get better from here.  
What I hate in this relationship is the constant wrist grabbing.  There have been a lot of sexy, charged moments that have been totally ruined for me by wrist grabbing or Do-jin not backing off when Yi-soo tells him to or pushes him away.  Sure, maybe she doesn't really want him to back off, and she's just trying to protect her confused feelings, but seriously, if the lady tells you to back off or pushes you away, you back off.  End of story.  But again, they're finally on the same page now, so they should have some nice moments not marred by the unwillingness by one half.  Whew.  Bring on the adorableness.
A note on the actor and actress:  I've never seen either of them in any other projects, so I have no prior biases.  I'm loving Jang Dong-gun, and I think he's killing this part with his expressive eyes.  Kim Haneul... not so much.  I've always had this image of her being graceful, and that what I wanted from her... not her doing a frustrated monkey dance.  On the other hand, her hair and legs ARE really nice, and she DOES have a lot of nice moments.  Personally, I think she's just suffering from having to act a part that's not all that complex.
Relationship 2: Im Tae-san (Kim Su-ro) and Hong Se-ra (Yoon Se-ah).  I didn't like this coupling at first because I thought Se-ra didn't deserve Tae-san at all, but as the series has gone on, I have found both faults and redeeming qualities in both characters, and I have found their relationship to be the most realistic.  They're both selfish people, and they often have to compromise.  But what's important, and becomes more apparent as the series goes on, is that they adore each other.  I was particularly moved when Se-ra's deep feelings came to the forefront when she quietly sobs when he doesn't come visit her in the hospital.  Sure, she did some stupid things out of jealousy, but she also wanted to protect her relationship with Tae-san.  I loved the moment when Tae-san shows up wearing skinny jeans for her because he knows that it would get a good laugh out of her.  Also, I'm loving Kim Su-ro's portrayal and Yoon Se-ah's as well.  I absolutely loathed Yoon Se-ah in City Hall but I'm finding her quite winning in this not totally likable role, that I originally thought would be the evil foil to Yi-soo's kind main character.  I'm glad to be proven wrong.
Relationship 3: Choi Yoon (Kim Min-jong) and Im Meh Ah Ri (Yoon Jin-yi).  These two.  Seriously.  I just want Yoon to stop thinking about what's good for everyone and just go for Meh Ah Ri.  Speaking of Meh Ah Ri, I found her childish and annoying at first, but kind of sweet, and now I'm liking her quite a bit more.  I'm not bothered by their age difference (it works for some people!) and I want more cute moments between the two, though their angsty scenes of late have been really good too.  So... she needs to grow some more and he needs to grow a backbone.  Oh!  Favorite moment between the two was when Tae-san had wrist grabbed Meh Ah Ri AND YOON WRIST GRABBED TAE-SAN to get him to let go of Meh Ah Ri = SO EPIC!!
Relationship 4: Lee Jung-rok (Lee Jong-hyuk) and Park Min-sook (Kim Jung-nan).  These two.  Seriously.  Yes, again.  I'm sad that this couple ever happened, and it bothered me that their situation was being used for comedy at the beginning.  But as with everyone else, their relationship has deepened and become more complicated.  I loved the scene when Jung-rok was setting up for a hot night with Min-sook and then she asked only to have him by her side and to have him pat her to sleep and to be able to lay on his arm.  All she wants are "warm" things, and not the "hot" things that Jung-rok seems to view being romance.  I don't know that Jung-rok will be able to understand her and be able to change, but I'm hoping.  Also, as a Lee Jong-hyuk fangirl, I need to take a moment to talk about him.  HE'S HILARIOUS.  His facial expressions are absolutely hysterical.  However, I have serious problems his stylist.  Why take the sexiest ajusshi in South Korea and do THAT to his hair?!  Why? On a brighter note, he can sing!

Relationship 5: Seo Yi-soo and Hong Se-ra. This friendship doesn't make much sense to me, but I do think it's interesting.  They're friends, and Yi-soo is definitely a lot more supportive than Se-ra, but that doesn't mean Se-ra doesn't care.  Yi-soo is a soft person, while Se-ra is prickly, and it was interesting to see them argue and then make up. 

Relationship 6: Seo Yi-soo and Im Meh Ah Ri.  I love these two together.  Yi-soo is so adorable, childish, and petty when she's with Meh Ah Ri, but also she keeps some of her tough teacher self as well.  I love how they support each other in their hard times in love.
Relationship 7: Hong Se-ra (Yoon Se-ah) and Im Meh Ah Ri (Yoon Jin-yi).  I like that they don't like each other, but they have one thing in common: they both care deeply for Tae-san, and Meh Ah Ri, in particular, really showed that when she didn't want to hurt her brother by tattle telling on Se-ra.
Relationship 8: Kim Dong-hyub (Kim Woo-bin) and me!!!!! Seo Yi-soo (Kim Haneul).  I'm honestly not sure why Kim Dong-hyub is in here, but it's more Kim Woo-bin for me, so I'm happy.  Also, the scenes when these two are together are the scenes when I absolutely love Yi-soo.  She's tough on her students that make trouble, but also very caring, especially in comparison to the other teachers.  I loved that his answer to her question of what he wants to be when he grows up is to be her husband.  The way he's always trying to protect from petty students is adorable.  He's sooooooo cute.
Relationship 9: Colin (Lee Jong-hyun) and all the ajusshis...  Yeeeeeaaaaaaah, I don't know what to think of this weird development either, especially if one of the guys ends up being Colin's father.  I smell drama ahead.  It also doesn't help that Jong-hyun really isn't that great of an actor.  I love Jong-hyun and he's my bias in CNBLUE, but the character is supposed to be this complicated, mysterious kid... but all that's come out is this bratty kid with no manners.  
And most importantly, our dear F44.
These guys are definitely what I come back for every week.  They're so adorkable together, and I love that one moment they'll be in full support of each other and the next they're disowning each other.  The opening scenes of every episode are always a highlight and I'm always LOLing at every scene with all of them, or any combination of them.  I definitely have to admit that I love Do-jin/Yoon the best:  Yoon in an apron, cooking for Do-jin, is the cutest thing ever.  The F44 is definitely the heart and humor of the series.

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  1. One of my favorite F44 moments was when Yoon and Tae San were fighting, and when Jae Rok is asked which side he's on, he replies "Yoon's, because he knows the contents of my wife's will. How about you, Do Jin?" "Me? I'm on your side, of course." I too love Me Ah Ri and Yoon, except he really needs to stop overthinking everything and tell Tae San that their relationship is none of his business if they make each other happy.
    When it comes to Yi Soo, I was actually pleased to see her as a competent and intelligent teacher, as contrasted by Gil Da Ran in Big. However, I agree that in other aspects of her life, her character is overly simplified. I understand her confusion when it comes to Do Jin—he never seems very sincere (from her pov). He's already told her he loathes the idea of marriage and kids, and I think that she just thinks he's messing around with her. I love when she argues with him and says "If I had known sooner, we could have just had a one night stand and been done with all this mess." That's the closest they've gotten to the "what are you looking for by pursuing me when you know I want a serious relationship?" conversation I've longed for. At least that way they could've gotten on the same page.
    Ok, sorry about the long comment. To finish it off, I just want to say that I love the red sweater-dress screenshot! One of my favorite moments in the show!

    1. I love long comments!! Ha, that's one of my favorite F44 moments as well. Especially the greedy look that Do-jin gives Jung-rok... it's totally creepy and very priceless. I also love that Yi-soo is a competent teacher-- I loved the conversation that she had with that one disrespectful student, and it made it obvious that she's having a lot of ethical issues with her relationships to Tae-san and especially Do-jin. As a viewer, we are given the benefit of knowing that Do-jin is sincere, but Yi-soo, sadly, cannot, so I understand why she never took him seriously... though the scene where she showed up in the shoes broke my heart, especially when his face fell. Hopefully, this weekend's episodes will put them officially on the same page.
      I love that image too! I felt that it was supposed to be the romantic moment when the two-fated-to-be-in-slow-motion happened, but it was totally ruined by her dress being half gone. Thanks for your thoughtful comment!

      P.S. Love your pseudonym. I think every K-drama fan has experienced that more than once :)

  2. Oh wow!!! Now I really, really need to start this series!!! When will I find more time to watch drama!?!? Ohtohkay!?