KDRAMAGUK : Korean Drama Soup

a landing site for quick, completely biased, and totally snarky korean drama reviews


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Something Happened in Bali (2004)

Something Happened in Bali
발리에서 생긴 일 / Memories of Bali
(Jan – Mar 2004)

who’s in it
Ha JiWon (Secret, Damo)
Jo InSung (Shoot for the Star, Classic - film)
So JiSub (Cain and Abel, Glass Slippers)
Park YeJin (Queen SeonDuk, Family Outing S1 – member)

what’s it about
Ha JiWon is working as a perky tour guide in Bali when she first meets Jo InSung (rich imbecile playboy), So JiSub (honorable but penniless) and Park YeJin (socialite who’s engaged to the first but loves the latter). That’s part one. Part two starts when Ha JiWon’s boss runs off with her savings and she’s forced to return to Korea to start over. That’s when things get really messy.

20 episodes


wildcard factor
Do you like dark and twisted? This was a kdrama and a half, baby. It’s heavy and you can hear everyone’s hearts make a bloody splat as they are torn out of chests and thrown to the floor. I’d say it’s a nod back to your parents’ kdramas where things were just a lot weepy and corkscrew and the people were so wretched, you wonder why they even bothered to get out of bed.

after the first episode
Oh dear, oh dear…this is not going to end well…I must watch!!!

gave up

snoozer moments
It gets somewhat repetitive toward the end. Instead of building up to a climactic ending…you get a feeling of being sucked down into a dull and horrible vortex.

Oh yeah. GALLONS worth of misery

what didn’t work
For what it was—a cluster pile of crying—I think it got its point across and achieved what it desired, which was to shock its audience.

what did
The music was a character of its own.

what made me want to gouge my eyes out
The ending was truly shocking.

what kept me going

How is this going to all end? Seriously, I thought I knew...but I had no idea.

Other factors:
predictability No
engrish No
originality Um...yes?
eye-candy Yes – well, if you are a So JiSub, Ha JiWon, or Jo InSung fan like, well, pretty much all of Korea, you could say there is some candy for you in here
hair and fashion It was…horrible, actually! I mean the yucky use of fur and the little backpacks…come on! The stylist for Jo InSung’s character needed to be shot.

is it worth trying to find?
Yes, if you love the gnarly melodrama.

total enjoyment factor 

total disdain factor

why this review is completely biased
Ha JiWon and Jo InSun—I totally bought into their charisma. I do not usually like this type of overly desolate and anguished type of fare, so I was quite impressed they got me through it.

could a non-kdrama fan like this
Hard to say. I did recommend it to someone who doesn’t watch many dramas…and it did not impress that particular person.

It was something else, that’s for sure. The music is still parodied in Korea to this day, as is the fist-in-mouth anguished-theatrical-acting of Jo InSung. I mean, if you put your fist in your mouth in Korea and cry “Aaaaaaaaaaah!”, they'll most likely exclaim in response, “Bali!” Well, either that or call the police. Anyway, it was...a cultural moment. The sexual tension between Ha JiWon and Jo InSung was also no joking matter. I mean, I really thought these two were a secret item in real life! They did a series of ‘silky hair’ ballroom shampoo commercials after Bali that were hot hot hot. I mean, like everyone else, I was really invested in these two...which only made this whole drama all the more shocking at its conclusion. Anyway, I felt like I’d survived a kdrama war when it was all done and watched. For its pure impact favor alone, it deserves its high grade.

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