20 September, 2012

At the End of A Gentleman's Dignity

Sorry it's taken so long to finally get down my final thoughts on this drama.  A new semester has begun, and I'm slightly swamped with oh so many things that don't include K-drama.  However, I did put my mini schpeel on the ratings page for A Gentleman's Dignity a while back, and if you've seen it, you'll know that I wasn't terribly impressed by this drama.

I'm going to go ahead and state simply that the first half was fun and enjoyable, and the second half sucked.  Badly.  I kept with it because because dramas give me all these weird feelings of guilt wherein I must finish a drama because I've come so far... because if I don't I'm betraying it or something like that.  However, Big gave me hope that I will not always be this way, because I jumped ship on that one halfway through.  Maybe I should have done the same thing with this one...

I think where it really start to go wrong, is when they brought in the whole "Do-jin is Collin's father!" storyline.  Why?  I didn't really like a lot of the conflicts in most of this drama, but this one really ticked me off.  It didn't add any cute antics (the whole Tae-san crush went on too long but at least it created some cuteness between our couple and brought them together eventually), crazy misunderstandings etc.  It just gave this horrible actor more time on my screen and made several miserable episodes trodden down with needless melodrama.  It also killed my love for the main romance.  They didn't communicate, they were selfish, and when they weren't being selfish, they were being idiotic and I simply wasn't impressed at all.  Especially by all those meaningful stares that meant absolutely nothing to me, and made me think that Kim Haneul had constipation.  Yeah.

Also, since the Do-jin and son ended up taking so much time in the drama, I at least expected some kind of justification for it being there.  But Colin was just kinda curious about how he ended up with such great looks, and decided that he wanted to find out who his real father is EVEN THOUGH he already has a loving father than it didn't abandon him and his mother despite having been conceived under what may have been considered shameful circumstances.  I get that the situation cut down Do-jin a few notches and shook up his self-image and his ability to become a respectable husband... and it also shook up Yi-soo's ability to trust him, especially with her already distrusting nature.  Which could have been written into a meaningful bit about them learning to trust each other and holding on to the other.  But sadly, they acted like stupid kids in the situation and did not inspire any kind of sympathy in me.

Also, why did Kim Eun-hee have to keep showing up?  She really didn't matter in the larger scale of things, and she got too much screen time, and the other women had to worry too much about her and it was super annoying.

Next couple!!  Yoon.... and Im Meahri....

Gah!  How I wanted these two to get together... in the first half.  First, let's talk about Im Meahri.  She cries a lot, and she's like one of those girls whose dream when they grow up is to be some guy's wife--- in this case, Yoon.  Girls like that definitely exist and while they aren't necessarily annoying and silly (I've even befriended a couple of girls like that that were totally cool), I just don't agree with them.  Im Meahri is the WORST example of this kind of female.  She cries, pulls tantrums, gets drunk, and cries some more when her beloved Yoon unhappily rejects her.  She says that she has a dream to create handbags, which is great... except that she the only evidence the viewer sees of this is a couple of short scenes in the first half of the drama.  If there's one thing that makes Im Meahri detestable (in my eyes), it's that she cannot seem to stand on her own two feet.  She wants to be independent of her ridiculously overprotective older brother, but she just complains of his treatment of her and accepts it, rather than fighting it. And instead of acting like an adult, she quits her job, gets behind on credit card payments (all the while wearing her designer clothing like a champ), gets drunk often and goes partying.  Oh, and did I mention that she cries some more?

I think two scenes in episode 18 beautifully illustrate why I dislike Im Meahri as a character:  In the first scene, Yoon enters Tae-san's house with Im Meahri to let him know that he will now be taking care of her.  Tae-san gets upset and disowns them both, and throughout this entire scene in which Im Meahri's life is completely changing, she cries and says nothing, while her older brother and one true love duke it out over her personal life and destiny.
In the second, Tae-san and Yoon have lunch together to discuss Im Meahri.  Tae-san argues that he would like his little sister to grow up, become more independent, and pursue her dream of making handbags (Me too!!), and that's why he wanted to send her away from Yoon to the U.S.  Yoon says that he wants her to pursue her dream as well, but that she is his dream (which is really sweet... except that it's Im Meahri he's talking about... ), and that he wants to do his best to take care of that dream.
Umm... and where's Im Meahri in all of this?  Is she working towards her dream as they discuss what they want for her?  Did it not occur to anyone to ask her what she wants?!  Even if all she wants to be Yoon's wife, I'm okay with that, but why must she be so passive while the men in her life take charge and choose for her?
Even if I was thoroughly miffed by Tae-san's treatment of his little sister, his relationship with his girlfriend Se-ra ended up being my favorite relationship BY FAR. They both had their pride, and eventually, they had to make compromises and put their pride behind them in order to be together.  And her support of him in the last episodes was really sweet, as she put aside her usual outward image of selfishness and prickliness.  I also loved that she was no pushover, and that she always works for herself.  I also felt like their relationship in the drama ended the most naturally.
Lastly, Jung-rok and Min-sook.  *sighs*  I felt like so much could have been done with this relationship, especially since it was so complicated to begin with.  I hated that the writer seemed to take their relationship seriously in one scene, and then would seem to use it for some comedy fodder in another.  Lee Jong-hyuk was freaking hilarious, and it was really fun to watch him in a humorous role.  I didn't like that the writer couldn't seem to decide whether she wanted to take him seriously as a character or not.  And until the end, I cannot say I that I believe that he loved Min-sook.  Which pretty much sucks.  I did like her issue with not being able to trust him, and disliking herself for it, and his pettiness in trying to get back with her was pretty adorable.... but I cannot say that I liked their ending either.  If she had decided to go for an adoption, I could understand.  But all those children...  It just seemed like a random stretch of the imagination.  And again, who knows if Jung-rok really loved Min-sook.
Due to my love of Kim Woo-bin, I treasured every measly scene he was in.  I enjoyed his character, but for the life of me, I could not figure out why he was in the drama to begin with.  I liked that he brought in a likable and confident side of Yi-soo, and that he had an adorable crush on her, and that she (sort of) inspired some kind of ambition in him.  It was sort of adorable that he and Colin and the two other guys sort of made their own F4, but I didn't think that line was developed enough to be the reason for why Dong-hyub needed to be in the drama.  In conclusion:  More Kim Woo-bin = More Me Happy.  But I also like my dramas to make sense.

I think anyone would agree with me that the best thing about A Gentleman's Dignity are the humorous vignettes at the beginning of each episode.  I would pick a favorite, except that almost all of them are ridiculously hilarious.  If I had to pick one though, I think I'd go for the one in which they are at a hostess bar, and when one girl comes in, they talk down their age until they realize that the girl is the daughter of an old schoolmate.  Time to run for the hills.

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