KDRAMAGUK : Korean Drama Soup

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


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Diary | The Girl Who Cried Wolf

Any other drama followers watching YG’s competition style documentary “WIN Who Is Next” on MNet chronicling the path to stardom for two YG trainee groups? At first I was only mildly interested in the show due to the Big Bang connection, but it is turning out to be quite the enjoyable fascinating. It’s like watching Dream High 3: The YG Hip Hop Battles. Drama fans, of course, will recognize Kang SeungYoon from High Kick 3, where he charmingly portrayed the country boy who dreamed of being a South Korean president.

It follows eleven insanely talented young men split into two groups consisting a mixture of rappers and singers, Team A and B, competing for a chance to debut under YG’s royal banner. It has human interest, it has suspense through various competitions, and above all, it is a glance into the real world trials of what idols endure to stand on a stage. Since idols frequently pop up in dramas, I say this is another fun dimension to the K-world to explore.
The rappers, from left to right: Bobby & leader B.I. of Team B
and Lee SeungHoon & leader Song MinHo of Team A
After years of rigorous practicing, these two teams are *this close* to finally achieving their dreams...how will they endure this final lap to the finish line? You couldn’t script this kind of heartbreak and dedication. It is my Friday must-watch non-drama drama. Granted, not a romantic comedy (haha) but definitely a dramedy.

Song MinHo (A), Kang SeungYoon (A), B.I. (B), Bobby (B), Nam TaeHyun (A)
These kids are fun to watch...and oh, the dancing and swagger. We can see why the YG artists are always such a cut above. I think it must be a base requirement to be overflowing with attitude to join this agency. And now that I have established favorite characters artists, I am invested. Unfortunately, they happen to be across teams.  I think I’m in for a heartbreak. Ha. Why do only one of these groups have to debut? I think kpop needs all of these kids. Come on, YG, don’t be shy, unleash them all on the world! I doubt anyone would mind.

Next week, Big Bang’s GD and Taeyang will be making cameos an appearance to coach the young ones.

Come on, how awesome and perfect is it that GD is wearing a Sex Pistols shirt? Be still, my heart.

Dramas I talk about after the jump: Master’s Sun (eps 11-12). If you haven’t watched Master’s Sun yet, don’t read on. Major ass spoilers ahead...because major ass things went down!

Master’s Sun
Episodes 11-12
Well, you know what they say, people are always the most honest when there is nothing left to lose. JiSub finally drops his emotional armor, unfortunately it happens because he—well, I’m getting ahead of myself. Suffice it to say, the BIG moment that has been building since the Kingdom Hotel pool ghost episode does not disappoint in the shock factor and is the mother of all cliffhangers. I imagine I’m not the only one who will be twisting nervous hands until next Wednesday.

I think we can all safely agree that Lord JiSub is out of his mind right now, and the reason seems to stem from love. He must be driving himself crazy, cuz I know he’s driving me crazy! He clearly has no idea what he’s doing, much less has any understanding of how to adult-deal with the emotions bubbling up inside him. It’s almost like he’s still that young boy trying at courtship with the girl who would go on to kidnap him. Well, actually, that is exactly why he’s spinning out of control. Twenty-some years of deep-seeded emotional fortifications wouldn’t come down so easily, would it?

We hoped that the blurted declaration of love at the end of episode ten was an indication of JiSub coming to his senses but it is yet another defensive strategy. He’s still playing psychological games with himself. His confession is only halfway done, giving HyoJin an address but not a key to his heart. Like a true businessman with a calculator for a brain, he’s still doing cost evaluations and stop loss analysis. He even presents his feelings to HyoJin like a corporate attorney presenting a business proposal to a potential investor.

Prepare for the attack of my wayward love, young lady, and resolve yourself, don’t you dare accept me or this merger! (Not actual dialogue from the show) Oh, he also makes sure she knows that he is downright offended with himself for falling for her in the first place. Boy, he sure knows how to romance girl. Hmmm.

She continues to think he’s either trying to butter her up for more ghost antenna services, or trying to scare her off, or simply just mocking her. Let’s give HyoJin a break for not believing his words of love, for obvious reasons, I think. He’s always declaring things that move in contradiction with his actions.

He gets jealous and possessive and childish about other people hovering around her, but it really does read more like someone trying to own property instead of courtship. For example, when he calls her “mine” to his rival, Giant Mall CEO Lee JongHyuk, it is kind of romantic in a caveman chest pounding way, but is also demeaning. She’s not an object that can be tossed away later when he gets bored of it but that’s the comparison we’re sticking with this time. He wants to have fun then stroll away cleanly later. *cough* Then how come no one is having any fun right now? (We are, but we don’t count, since we’re just the voyeurs who enjoy watching people get heartbroken)

You almost want to smack some sense all over JiSub’s pretty little cheekbones. Ironic he tells cameo star of the week Lee JongHyuk to get a grip when JongHyuk The Handsome is the one who has the sense to bring a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a warm smile for HyoJin by episode’s end.

I am actually bummed Secretary Kim blocks that plot progression. I sure wouldn’t mind seeing JongHyuk for a few more handsome-filled episodes. Love him. But he leaves for a good reason. There is no room for fun in the following hour, which tackles a desperate and homicidal maniac mechanic. The end of the first hour ended with everyone miserable and Lord JiSub acting like a monumental turd, the second hour continues along the same way.

Oh, lordy, lord, Lord JiSub. Cruel words send HyoJin running home in sobs, which naturally has him chasing after her and ending the night with another kiss. Jesus Save Me is right. At the beginning of episode twelve, the score stands thus: JiSub has all the power. He’s still playing a weird game of emotional math that is completely irrational.

He has reasoned that he loves HyoJin, so he will act accordingly, such as soliciting dates and holding her hand, because that would be enjoyable for him, but she must never ever fall for him because that would make him feel guilty and obligated, and then he might not be able to “safely” go his own way later when he falls out of love. His aunt (rightly) thinks he’s playing a dangerous game and totally calls him on this bullshit. Secretary Kim calls him on his bullshit. InGuk suspects him of major bullshit. Hell, even his father who hasn’t even met HyoJin thinks something smells like bullshit.

Secretary Kim’s theory is that HyoJin is perfect for JiSub mostly because she’ll stick to him no matter how much he kicks her. How romantic. I will respectfully disagree with him on that point, that is certainly not the basis of a good love match. But the point continues to be underlined, bolded, and hammered into our heads for a reason, this idea that HyoJin is pathetic. She does spend this week’s episodes repeatedly getting kicked and kissed, and as a member of the female species, I did find it frustrating. So the show FIRMLY and painfully establishes that HyoJin is willing to be doormat to JiSub’s heart, sitting outside without a key, a place where he can wipe his feet on. Yes, yes, we get it, it doesn’t matter how much she’s hurt by him, she’s gonna handle it and endure, not only because of the ghost thing, but because the girl loves a boy that’s out of her league (her viewpoint).

That is unhealthy for many reasons but the big realization by the end of the two hours is that the person getting hurt in this unequal arrangement isn’t HyoJin, it is really JiSub. He is only hurting himself by hurting her, by keeping her at a distance. And that is what ultimately changes the power dynamic for the couple. She won’t leave him because of her own pride being damaged but, turns out, there might be something that’ll make her leave him after all—possibly? This feels a hint at the conflicts to come. Eventually it sinks in for HyoJin that she may only be a path to pain for JiSub. What if she is not a cure for his wounds, as Secretary Kim believes, but the poison, as his aunt keeps telling her. Who is right? 

Definitely, the possible death of the main male lead is the kind of shocking conclusion to an episode that leaves an impact. In a show like this, where killing off a character doesn’t mean he has to leave the show, JiSub’s alleged demise definitely makes for a rich suspense. They could go there, if they really wanted to surprise viewers. I mean, a hop skip away, there’s another show airing that had a dead lead from the very beginning (Who Are You). It doesn’t seem that far a stretch to have JiSub tagging along with HyoJin in bluish-gray hues.

This fangirl totally does not think he’s dead, of course. I do believe that was the whole point of having the Kingdom Hotel episode with the sad coma woman, and the writing team so far have proven to be good Jenga builders of a story. They stack upon what has come before. We know for a fact that even spirits that straddle the line between life and death can go exploring in translucent form. I think this is a really slick move  for the emotional journey of the characters. So now, in his “death” Lord JiSub has finally come to let all his walls down, and being as he is such an uptight person, nothing short of a death could have given him a real rebirth. But at the same time, I suspect we will be seeing more walls from HyoJin going forward. Kdramas are often more rewarding when the balance of power jumps back and forth between characters.

The tantalizing mystery of HyoJin’s accident seven years prior has come up again, for a good reason. With merely four more episodes to go, yes, it’s a damn good time to shake things up, and long overdue we learn a little more about HyoJin’s past. Because clearly, she must have a doozy of one.

Two things that will face JiSub when he comes back from the dead (assuming he does):

First, JiSub has come to a truce with his father this week, sort of, and the living stalker lady, a Crazy Twin named Hannah, played by Hwang SunHee, has moved into his residential community and is creepily sucking up to his aunt. So that is nicely set up and organized to make his life miserable for later. Her existence is yet another reason why it’s doubtful JiSub will stay on the other side of the Styx forever. Who would this woman bother if he be gone and peaceful into the beyond?

Second obstacle will likely be HyoJin herself. Now that we know for certain that HyoJin is the goat and JiSub the wolf (but who actually thought HyoJin was the wolf in that analogy?), I imagine/hope we’ll be seeing our girl grow a bit more spine now. If her staying by JiSub’s side means continued danger and hurt for him, which she has come to believe this week, it changes everything. Recall, JiSub only slimly avoided being a casualty of violence in the military dog episode as well. And putting him in constant harm’s way might just be too much of a price to pay for even her to stick like glue.

Sometimes I hate being current with a drama.
The waiting is brutal.

Oh, quick comment on our two favorite secondary characters who really got shoved aside this week. InGuk sees a more human side of YooRi and his heart finally thaws a little towards her.

—Little kids back! Yay! And they make the cutest appearance with JiSub! But how did he find them? Did he just go randomly knocking on doors? Which is kind of funny as well as scary. Kids, stop opening doors for strangers, even if they are handsome and well-dressed. Side note, does anyone else think the younger one looks like a mini-Kim WooBin?

—OK, they did NOT just do a round of the three bears song! Funniest impromptu choir ever! I’m only bummed they didn’t do Rain’s ‘American’ version from Full House.

—When did they print that picture of Lee JongHyuk’s father? Was there a printer in that closet?

—Why do night reflections always seem so sad when they look back at us in the dark?

—I really want to know why this show insists on telling stories about hurt children. Sad! Emotionally effective, sure, but depressing as hell.

Last, lemme end with another pic. Meeerrrrwgggrowl. Now who’s fantasy was this pictorial concept stolen from?


  1. Wow you have a much better understanding of what the hell is happening in this show than I do (which is kind of a bad thing considering I am trying to review it...oops) and I found your words above incredibly enlightening when it comes to trying to understand what the hell is happening in our lead's heads.

    I think that Jisub's endless push and pull was kind of wearing me down, but I think I can see what you are saying in terms of WHY he is actually doing it, which is quite interesting.
    And yeah I totally agree that he is most likely not dead but just in a coma....

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!! :-)

    1. As the show goes on, I'm beginning to get that I don't know what the hell is going on either!!! ^^; I absolutely agree with you, it is almost TOO MUCH! I look forward to reading your review!


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