The Queen of Asian Drama is Back with more Irreverent Reviews and Snarky Commentary.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

사랑비 / Sarangbi / Love Rain

My first post in nearly three years will kick off with a K-Do I had to watch twice in order to remember enough about it to be able to write a critique.
This is listed under Romance, Melodrama at both dramafever and aznv, and while I agree, there were still some issues (with me) in the 'romance' department.
Love Rain ran for 20 Episodes, and this is most-often a good indicator of the ubiquitous pregnant pauses and minutes-tick-by staring at one of our stars doing nothing, really. To me, it's simply a chance for the show's producers to hype the OST.
This might be fine if you happen to like the ONE played-to-death song in every, single episode, that you are guaranteed to hear bits and pieces of at least ten times per. If you don't, though, and I didn't, then you're screwed.
Now I have to put up with the du-gun, du-gun du in my head for the next, few days.
Another reason why I think K-Do's go for 20 instead of 16 is because of the actors involved. Especially the 'hot-as-right-now' guys & gals.
If there are any followers left with me, then I don't need to apologize or explain my sarcastic witticisms and labeled-as-snarky remarks about what goes on in the Hallyu stratosphere.
I adore Geun suk-ki! And, again, I don't need to go into specifics with my readers as to why, either.

He didn't make it to the Prettiest Face on the Planet list for nothing.

There again, though, I beg to differ.
Pretty, in American English, does NOT equate to this guy.
He's freakin' gorgeous, yes, but pretty?
Pretty, damn handsome, pretty holy fantastic, and pretty hell-a macho you mean?
He tries, yes, to be that homme femme everyone strives to obtain these days, but for me that is more about what he wears than how he looks in the too-hot, too-now garments of his choosing. There's just something completely MALE about the guy that doesn't conjure up the slightest notion of anything dainty, demure, or girly.

And, yes, I stand by this opinion even if he does go to the salon 4 times a day, shops til he drops, and sports more accessories than I managed to gather in a lifetime. He's mad about keeping up appearances, to include frequent facials and other such used-to-be-exclusive-to-the-fairer-sex nonsense as manicures, pedicures, spa treatments, and things meant to keep you looking young and fresh and vibrant when none of it really works, but it sure is fun while you're doing it types of vanities.

Whatever ... let's talk some more about this drama, shall we?

Love Rain is about a ... sixties? seventies? ... group of college students. Excuse the confusion, and I know that Korea took their time getting with the post-modern program back in the day. I still have trouble trying to figure out how people that should be grandparents somehow end up (always) being parents of young, hip children still in high school or just entering college. If everyone waits until their 35 or 40 to hatch an egg, then forgive me for not knowing it sooner.
Anyway, these college students who behaved like it was 1963 in Berkeley are close and having fun when along comes Miss goody-two-shoes. Dainty, quiet, demure, and (for that time period, I guess) drop-dead gorgeous.
The two hot lead guys both fall for her, but it's our Geun-suk who really falls ... hard.
So, for the first, few episodes we get to watch their ill-fated romance play out.
Love Story came out in the 70's, right? It was now-playing in this drama, so that's why I am confused.
Maybe Hollywood had a ten-year gap in Korea as well?
The guitar-strumming boys also liked to play folk tunes and listen to the Beatles, which over here means the 1960's. Yes?

Okay, so I'm lost - no big surprise.

Geun-suk's character is crazy about the mousy newcomer enough to risk losing his friends, but as is always the case whenever hot guy slams into dour chick, the chances of there being a happy, meaningful outcome are slim to nil.

And ... she's got a terminal illness!

Well, no she doesn't, really. She's sick, yes, and has to go to (stop me if you've heard THIS one before) Mee-gu-gay-soh for exclusive treatment.

Geum suk's character just decides "Em, yeah, so even though I'm not finished with college, and I met the girl of my dreams, and life is coming up roses in at least a few aspects, I think I'll just chuck it all and join the army."

They did get to play around for a bit together, and just enough for his best friend to get angry enough to punch him, but the cool-headed guy forgives him while her so-called best friend turns bitch-from-hell and vows never, ever to forgive her for taking away her crush.

Well, when sick girl leaves for America, and lover-boy goes off to the army, the viewer is left to wonder ... is it over? Can we watch something else now? That was nice, in a cute, strangely brief sort of ... way.

Just kidding.

Hello 2012!

She didn't die, and he still managed to graduate from college.
She married someone else, and he knocked up the bitch. They had a son and she had a daughter.

It's one of those stories where the parents are total screw-ups, and they have to wait until their children (shaking my head because I've come back to that time-frame thing again) in their 50's? Or wouldn't it be more like their 70's? Their offspring are in their 30's for crying out loud!

graduate high school: 20, graduate college: 24, uh, somewhere along the line you procreate: 25-35 (or, in Korea's case: 30-40), your offspring are now college grads: 50?

Okay, I think what threw me off was the first round college students. It was the late 70's, but they behaved, dressed, and jammed to stuff from Migu's 1962? Still, 30 + 30 = 60, right? I have no idea how old anyone is in this show.

Moving right along

The elders have to wait for their children to grow up and show 'em how it's done. One of those dramas.

Y'know ... I'll bet you anything that time has a way of just standing still in Korea. It would explain why, even if their sense of style might coincide with their age, it doesn't necessarily translate to their facial features. Which would explain why everyone believes that most Asians are ageless! I think I'm starting to get on board now.

So modern Geum suk and the modern mousy chick end up bumping shoulders at a train station in Hokkaido. She had read her mother's diary and went there to find Mr. Do Right for her long-suffering, lonely, and always ailing mother. He's there to take pictures. Geum suk's character likes to bitch and moan about his rotten family while trying to maintain his god status as a photographer.

He turns out to be the bitch and she's all like whatever, dissing him because she's got this heavy on for her Sunbae.

... Well, hello there ...

Kim Young kwang 's character starts out as this nerdy, almost dufus type athletic dolt kind a guy who follows our Miss Sunshine over hill and dale trying to find her cell phone, which Mr. Photographer Brat has on his person. I think she stuffed it in his coat pocket on purpose at the train station, but whatever, he has it and he makes her do cartwheels, back flips, and somersaults to get it back, too.

There was a fat kid lumbering along with them always complaining about wanting to stop the chase and get some noodles. He disappeared as soon as Miss Sunshine got back her phone, so I guess he doesn't rate here, either.

Young kwang ends up ACTUALLY being the head of the chaebol 'place' where her mother has worked as a gardener. For years. Years, I said. She worked there, and her daughter grew up idolizing her Sunbae, and no one knew he was the owner's son?

It could happen!

Okay, so in the episode where we find out this shocking revelation, Miss Sunshine cries for about a minute (seriously) before turning a 180 in Geum suk's direction. Now she's the annoying nag and he's all like whatever! and this goes on for at least a half-dozen episodes or more.

And, then out of NO where Young kwang's character just says something about not wanting to marry the gal he was engaged to, and he wants to start a little something-something with Miss Sunshine. What's even worse is that this subject is hinted at ... it comes up, gets lost in a lot of sighing and melodrama ... returns again to be completely overlooked again ... more melodramatic angst shit ... then here he comes again, to make one, last play for the girl before the subject just poof ... dies on a gentle breeze.

Another contrasting thing about Love Rain included the then and now depictions of the second-string (so to speak) guitar playing guy who had a thing for Miss Mouse, too.

Kim Si hoo's character from back in the day was a whole lot more impressive than he became as the son.

Now, THIS screams 1978 in Migug.                                                           This says 80's preppy nerd.

I'm sure to stand alone in this prognosis, but I don't mind. I'm used to having a totally different view of life from the rest of the world. 1978 was hot, and the preppy doc supposed to be hip for 2012 did zero to make me think he was any relation to his young, old man.

Back to the show

Geum suk's character finally caves and lets Miss Sunshine know how he really feels ... has felt ... since she bumped into him back in Japan. Naturally, once the cat's out of the bag, he finds out the truth about their parents and has to concede defeat in that spoiled, rich brat way we've all come to know and, well, respect, really, even if it is totally disrespectful and about as natural in real life as, um, any of the stories conceived in the rich mind's of Korean drama writers?

He's always hated the old man for treating his drunk mother like crap, and for ignoring his feelings.

And, yes, the girl from the past who seduced the guy not the slightest bit interested in her so that she ends up having his baby now cries, whines, bitches, and connives her way through the present. She's a drunk and miserable because he never ended up loving her. Really? Why is it that I'm never as surprised by this outcome as the characters themselves?

Real life women listen up! It never works! This we can all agree is one, solid truth in a K-do. Snagging your man, tricking him, and carrying his baby do not love create! Now, shake him off, get a grip, and move on. Mr. Right is out there somewhere (or not) and you have no business destroying another life because you're too damn selfish to get out of your own way.

I will say, though, that the woman who played Geum suk's character's omanee was spot-on. I liked her, and she even mimicked her younger self in looks, facial expressions, and attitude. She tried, and I give her credit.
The last episode with her in it was poignant, too.

Oh, and there was the ever-present young bitch, too.Si hoo's character's little sister. Bull-headed, oblivious, and so full of herself that she truly believes there is no one else alive besides her, and the guy she's in love with so he HAS to feel the same way, right? That chick. I love him, so naturally he feels the same way, which means I'm going to squeeze my way into his life through his mother and end up becoming his wife. She's in every K-do, and you know it.

She was a weak character, though.

Actually, now that I think about it, there were a lot of weak instances in this drama. Things that were touched on, that shadowed the couples then and now, and appeared like phantoms every so often as if to keep us, the viewers, aware that ... yes, I'm still here ... not sure why, but yeah, here I am ...

Well, if you stayed with me, then I hope I gave you a clear yet humorous understanding of what to expect if you haven't watched Love Rain yet or want to again for old time's sake.

I watched it for Jang Geum suk, I think I left it a few times, and then went back when I had time just to stare at him for awhile, and then re-browsed it recently for this post.

tags: Jang Guem suk, Love Rain


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