KDRAMAGUK : Korean Drama Soup

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


Friday, December 10, 2010

First Impressions: All My Love (2010/2011)

All My Love
100+ Episodes
Nov 2010 - Unknown 2011

Park MiSun (love her!) is the typical hapless mother who can’t seem to find the right balance between responsibility and selfish desire. She spends most of her time unsuccessfully chasing get-rich-quick schemes and dodging debt collectors. She has two kids, fraternal twins played by variety show We Got Married’s titular married couple GaIn and JoKwon. These two idols are famed for their bickering chemistry usually reserved for their fake marriage, but they adapt that same sass to sibling rivalry here.

GaIn, the older by three minutes, is a total poser. She’s dirt poor but likes to put on airs and pretend she’s the pampered spoiled daughter of a rich family. But there’s one other thing she’s especially obsessed about...getting double eyelid surgery. She’s spent most of her formative years being hounded by K-society because of her small and narrow eyes (are you glaring/sleeping/praying?) and so she is determined to change her fate by buying herself a pair of big eyes. Her twin, JoKwon, is her life enemy (in that love-hate sis-bro way). He’s lazy, conniving, bratty and a complete failure at studying, but keeps up the pretense of hitting the books, although he would prefer to be womanizing and bopping around at the clubs. Being the darling youngest son, JoKwon’s still favored by his mother despite his failings.

All fates get intertwined when GaIn takes a break from college because she can’t afford tuition then finds herself forced to work at a hagwon (a private tutoring academy) in order to monetarily compensate the president of that school for a ruined reputation etc (it has to do with bathroom humor, as befits this genre). On a more somber note, this stingy school director, played by Kim GabSoo, is also looking for his long lost daughter.

It’s a sitcom so there are a lot of characters that pop up and play.  Rounding out the more interesting members of the extended cast:

Bang EunHee: estranged friend of Park MiSun. They fell out of touch because of money, and two years later, reunite because of it. Park MiSun and her twins lodge themselves into Bang EunHee’s house, to the other woman’s great displeasure. Not incidentally, she runs a snack shop outside the tutoring academy.

Yeon WooJin: the handsome younger brother of Bang EunHee (who also lives with her). He tutors at the school and is quite popular with the female students.

Yoon DooJoon: this cutie is just discharged from his mandatory military services and comes home to find his best friend JoKwon and the bossy twin sister bunked at his house. Also in the house? Two strangers who are renting his room (his fam forgot his discharging date). He’s a nice guy, easygoing and caring, but also somewhat unmotivated. He is plagued with smelly feet, if GaIn’s complaints can be believed. She spends a great deal of time poking and prodding at him. DooJoon, JoKwon and GaIn grew up together as kids. I smell something in the air between the two out of three who are not blood-related (smelly feet notwithstanding), and that odor smells pink and heart-shaped. (Side note: it’s obviously not a love triangle as I doubt this is an incest type of show, but for fans of the Adam couple on We Got Married...you can see why it kinda feels weird. It’s a little strange watching these three mix up their signals, I won’t lie.)

Jun TaeSoo: a totally uptight Yale grad (but deliciously so), and the right-hand man to the hagwon director, this guy has a secret, and it’s a dark one. It starts with a “R” and ends in “Evenge.” Yeah, that’s right, I said Revenge. But it’s a comedy so the whole thing comes across a little funny, and thankfully, that’s the point. His broody-broody is out of place here and that’s the whole point of it. A similar yet distinct role from his sneering and stuck-up character in Sungkyunkwan Scandal because here Jun is sneering and stuck-up but also comedic.

Yoon SeungAh: a good-natured young woman who is diligent about following principles and rules. She is also on leave from uni due to a lack of funds like GaIn. She works part time at this hagwon as well. Along with her grandmother, she rents a room at the same crowded house everyone else lives. Unintentionally, she gains an admirer in Jun TaeSoo and an unlikely frenemy in JoKwon. She also has a secret…but she herself doesn’t know it yet.

Most of this young cast either live together or work together, so bumping tempers and shoulders...and lips...etc, is all a part of the good times.

First impressions
Yes, it’s a sitcom and this latest offering does not disappoint the genre. It is silly, overdone, and abundant with poop humor. It is also colonized by three of the more popular K-idols in the biz right now—JoKwon (2AM), GaIn (Brown Eyed Girls), and Yoon DooJoon (B2ST)—and the whole thing is pretty entertaining. If you like kpop, this should definitely be a must-watch for you. The drama makes up for its obvious lack of substance with an overflow of bubbly charm (sometimes a tad too much). That’s kind of the bread and butter of these types of ramblers, generally speaking.

Yoon DooJoon (above) especially impresses, he’s natural and has a pretty good sense for comedic timing. I suppose it helps that he’s a smexy B2ST (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

Yoon SeungAh is very likable and I hope this fresh faced talent is able to ground this drama, as even this type of show needs to have some semblance of sincerity in order to succeed. Yoon SeungAh was one of the few bright spots in the dismal Playful Kiss and she brings the same charming vitality to this part as well.

Jun TaeSoo, the “villain” of the show (in the loosest definition of the word), is forbidding enough in demeanor and his darkly handsome appearance to fit the part, but is enough mysterious and sympathetic for easy investment in his character’s probable growth. It’s fun watching the newbie actor experiment and try to settle into the role, shake off that stiffness. His Scandal role was very strict and one-dimensional, I’m looking forward to what he’ll do here.

Nothing radical going on in this one but this is, as far as I’m concerned, just what I needed this time of year, something warm and entertaining and filled with pop culture humor (thanks to the idol cast). More amusing than content-rich, it’s a good late night breezer for the afterschool/afterwork ho-hum...or more accurately, a great way to laugh off that holiday stress.

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