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

Friday, February 07, 2014

Yeppeun Namja

Bel Ami, Pretty Man

2013 16-episode KBS drama that starred Jang Geun suk as Dok Go Ma Te (coolest, baddest name to date, I might add). Ma te is super fine and knows it, but he's stuck with a plain omanee living in a run-down part of Korea and yearns for something more. Something substantial and with meaning: $$, Fame, etc.

His omanee is friends with Kim Bo tong's (IU) omanee and that's how the two opposed leads end up meeting, the one-way love affair ensues, and so this story begins.

Bo tong actually first met the long haired charmer on a bus, but that's neither here nor there and I am not about to post any spoilers, so watch it yourself if you want the juicy bits.

Bo tong also ends up meeting another really handsome guy - Lee Jang woo as Choi David.  Da-beed is a show-stopping scene stealer throughout Bel Ami, but not by too much (in my opinion at least).

Lee Jang woo as Choi David

Despite what most people anticipated, expected, or hoped to see with this drama and went away sorely disappointed, disillusioned, and ANTI Jang Geun suk, Pretty Man is about a guy in search of his past, and along the way to self discovery he meets some interesting characters who steer him toward that goal, but in a bizarre, round-about kind of way, which is necessary if the PD is expected to make a movie-length story into a 16 episode drama.

The main nemesis (of sorts) is a stunning woman

Han Chae young as Hong Yoo ra

Another of those rare TRUE beauties that grace the K-do screens now and again. Absolutely stunning is this woman and a good actress as well.

See, Yoo ra is or was married to a Pillsbury Dough (rich) Boy who's step-mom was it? somehow ends up dominating even his father - the Chaebol king of some big Home Shopping Network.

HSN must be THE DEAL over there, eh? Its reference as the new bling career made its appearance in other dramas, so I have to wonder. Over here, I think it's safe to say that HSN is still an embarrassment and only those over age 60 dare admit to watching, much less actually buying anything that way.


LOVED, loved, LOVED this guys laugh.

So our lovely Yoo ra meets our Adonis-like Dok Go Ma Te and the fun begins. She sets him off on this strange chase by introducing him to different types of powerful women so that he can learn as much as possible about what it takes to make it in Chaebol land.

Mat te becomes convinced of his princely lineage by assuming he is the illegitimate heir to this HSN empire and proceeds to worm his way into that circle of omnipotence with the help of Yoo ra and the women he is forced to have to deal with along the way.

Meanwhile our mousy Bo tong drags her pathetic ass along for the ride, still clinging to Ma te and dutifully abiding by his every whim while maintaining the lofty goal of one day becoming his true love.

I'm sure by now everyone knows how I feel about Cinderella plots, the unattractive yet doggedly determined mouse who sets her sights on someone far above her station in life only to get what she wishes for due to that unflinching and long-suffering determination.

Brainwashing hogwash at its ultimate finest imho.

Still, Yeppeun Namja was different in that the basic premise wasn't dopey, sappy, sugar-laden, sophomoric mentality bullshit.

The writers actually pushed this by making us watch as Bo tong struggled with the rejection while explaining her reasons for continuing to cling to Ma te. Believable in a ~meh~ kind of way but still unique for the otherwise predictable K-Do la-la land run-of-the-mill formula.

Yeppeun Namja was a cut above in that the theme leaned more toward the mature and mysterious side rather than concentrating solely on high school angst stupidity that has saturated the K-Drama world of late.

Which brings me back to my earlier remark about those who watched this (or didn't) and left their harsh comments at - and before I go any further, please don't ask me to post those remarks here on my blog. I don't plagiarize and would rather have permission to put someone else's quotes in my own work, but that would take forever to accomplish. If you are that curious to discover my integrity then go to the website, click on the drama in question, and read them there.

Anyhow - the comments posted were in the [down] category a majority of the time and had me wondering what was so wrong with Jang Geun suk working over in Japan when ... um ... well ... So Ji sub did his army stint there, and most every KPop band performs there because the fan base is ten-thousand times bigger?

Most of the argument stemmed from the simple fact that after having just come down from his lofty role in Heirs, the die-hards wanted to see Lee Min ho in the leading role instead of Geun suk.

A lot of the girls argued that Geun suk isn't 'pretty' at all ... or handsome, gorgeous, sexy, hot, whatever compared with the star they believed to be the best instead.

I really don't know why I even bother getting upset about people like this to be perfectly honest. Narrow-minded people are as annoying to me as that pesky bug in the heat of summer that refuses to leave you alone as often as it refuses to let you kill it with a fly swatter or rolled up newspaper.

And, I'm sorry, but Heirs wasn't exactly the Boys Over Flowers of 2013 in my opinion, and if you read my blog on that drama, I didn't care for Min ho's role or his acting. Dude dragged his uninterested ass through the whole show and no one caught on to that little fact but me?

I'm not saying Min ho is no good, either. I love him. I look forward to everything he stars in, believe me! He's handsome in a tall, hunky kind of way, and he's a good actor (when he wants to be), but unlike Faith, his work in The Heirs just wasn't one of his better moments and Pretty Man has ZERO to do with looks. You would know that, too, if you had actually bothered to watch the drama and didn't turn away because your personal favorite didn't make the leading man cut.

I will say, though, that if you were to take that word - PRETTY - quite literally then yes, they are right and Jang Geun suk isn't the right man for the role. I said it before, and in this instance it bears repeating. Jang Geun suk is too much of a MAN to be labeled as ~pretty~

You're welcome, darling.

What he is, people, is a guy who carries on like he's delicate when in reality he's a seething god of manly sensuality with snake-like charm.

In other words, he's not stupid and anyone who expects him to be is ... well ... stupid.

Geun suk is juuust this side of boyish, and he can pull off that wide-eyed innocence ~ and get away with it ~ for all of thirty seconds before he hits you with his true, underlying sex appeal that screams MALE DOMINANCE right down to the very core of his being. He's multi-talented, his style range is incredibly diverse, and I've never seen him in any scene where he doesn't manage to drag me away from whoever else is lurking about at the time.

He is like the Korean version of Kamenashi Kazuya. You can't, quite say the
guy is effeminate any more than you can say he's capable of pulling off the role of Superman yet DAMN is he fine, convincingly manly, sexually appealing, and unquestionably deep.

Both guys can act, convince, portray, and lead unsuspecting females down just about any garden path they choose without much effort.

Few can argue, then, that looking and dressing a certain way is a leading indicator of ones inner sanctum or true personality. It's always about what ends up being revealed through actions that define a person and never, really, about what is painted on canvas.

Still, I've always maintained that Korean men have it over the Japanese star in the hunk-man-tough-badass category.
Japanese male actors are more capable of exuding effem than their K-Do brethren, but I couldn't begin to explain why other than it just looks that way to me. Korean men have more meat on their bones, a stronger jawline, and are simply more rugged even if they ARE blatantly kae.

If there were a Korean equivalent to, say, Haruma Miura, then yeah, I'd rather see that guy in the lead of this drama. Unfortunately, I can't quite think of any Korean actors who are truly 'pretty' for the simple sake of that word. No one, really, other than our darling Jang-sshi.

So, for those of you who haven't watched this because of the negative rap it received, or didn't watch it because you were biased, or passed because you are angry at Geun suk for whatever silly reason, I urge you to set aside your pre-conceived notions just this once and sit through all sixteen episodes. THEN go right ahead and spout off about how horrible it DIDN'T turn out to be.

There wasn't a single moment that could be considered bad, boring, tedious or lame. The subs are and will always be a bone of contention, however, and there are few OSTs that make me want to mention it in these blogs, too. That aside, here are the rest of my images.

By the way ... I hated the hair transformations our Dok Go Ma Te went through, so there is at least one down-side to this drama, but it isn't why I gave the story 4 out of 5. 5's will always be reserved for those select few and far between stories that managed to lift me out of my seat and take me far, far away from my mundane life which is reality and completely drag me along for the duration.

this will always be my favorite version

this makes me think of the 80's

but it isn't that bad - he's still gorgeous

yes ... yes, I do!

when things took a very wrong turn

VERY wrong

then might I suggest you find a new line of business associates?

Yes, thanks to me you will soon have that glorious head of hair again!

isn't he, though?

I see the medical AMA badge on his chest (LOL)

love it when he gets embarrassed in public

B-8? Really? Can't kiss, touch, or show emotion, but this is a-okay with the censors!

I do adore this woman! She's awesome

poor, sweet Dabeed

I hope, too, that the dyed fad fades REAL soon over there

yes, Ajumma, but, unless you're a hooker, how easy can it be to get naked with a man you don't ...

the real yeppeun


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