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

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Dakara Koya


だから荒野
Inspiration -  Based on a Kirino Natsuo novel
Writer -  Taeko Asano
Genre -  Human Interest
Network -  NHK
Episodes -  8
Release -  Jan - Mar, 2015



Cast




Synopsis

scorned by her husband and two sons, housewife Morimura Tomomi leaves home in disgust On her 46th birthday and embarks on a 1,200 km journey. On the road, she encounters a series of traumatizing episodes: her husband's affair,  a truck driver who mistakes her for a prostitute housewife, and having her car stolen. Then a good-looking young man with an elderly man offers her a ride, and she arrives in Nagasaki. She meets new people and learns more of the atomic bomb incident, becoming aware of a "wilderness" within her as she begins to explore the path to rebirth. ~ Jdrama Weblog (w/edits)

Review


With just eight episodes at forty-nine minutes each, I figured this would be a decent enough way to pass some time in these cold, dreary spring days here in Michigan.

I was wrong and ended up watching the entire thing in one sitting.

This was an interesting story touching on a few topics that melded in a relatively seamless eight episodes of Human Interest mixed with History.

It is about people lost and in need of finding their way, which coincides directly with the old man who experienced Nagasaki first hand at the end of World War II.

Tomomi (Suzuki Kyoka) meets her husband and eldest son at a family restaurant one night, and after a series of abusive and thoughtless remarks from both men, Tomomi says good-bye and leaves the restaurant.

It was her forty-sixth birthday, which neither man acknowledged, becoming the final straw that sets the story in motion. Tomomi gets into the car and drives away with the intention of running and never looking back.

Her youngest son is a recluse whom she continues to worry about but decides that it might do him some good if she were to walk away and force him to stand on his own two feet.

She meets another lost woman in a rest-stop parking lot shortly after receiving a cup of coffee from a trucker, whom she'll run into again later in the story.

The other woman cons her into spending a night in a 'love' hotel (because its cheap, not for sex) and steals her shoes and the car.

Tomomi ends up having to hitchhike in the Wellington's she had given the other woman, and the trucker pulls over to offer her a ride to Nagasaki.

Shortly afterwards, he propositions her with the mistaken notion that she is a prostitute, so she exits the truck and waits in the rain at a bus stop.

When no one stops to pick her up, she walks into the rain, removes the boots, stands in a dirt-road puddle, and goes from despair to renewed spirit.

She's on the right path and knows it so intends to continue moving forward no matter how rough things get along the way.

This is when the 'handsome guy' (Takahashi Issei) shows up in a mini van with an elderly gentleman in the back seat. He offers her a ride, she accepts, and ends up in Nagasaki.

Tomomi has been in touch with an old school friend (both grew up in Nagasaki) and that woman is single, an established hair stylist with her own shop, and lonely -- wishing she had Tomomi's life and envying her for the family/husband she never had.

Once Tomomi arrives in Nagasaki, we learn more about the bombing of that city through the numerous retellings offered by the old man, whom Tomomi ends up staying with and taking care of.

All of these people are lost in some way and in need of renewal or change, and that is the gist of the story.

Good One


0

Monday, March 28, 2016

I Remember You


너를 기억해 / Neoreul Gieokhae

AKA -  Hello Monster
Genre - Police, Thriller, Mystery
Episodes -  16
Network -  KBS2
Broadcast -  2015, June to Aug
Cinderella -  No


Cast




Plot


Lee Hyun (Seo In guk) is an excellent criminal profiler, but he possesses a spiteful tongue. Cha Ji an (Jang Na ra) is an elite detective. She observes Lee Hyun. They work on solving cases and develop a romantic relationship. ~ AsianWiki (w/edits)

A passionate detective with a strong track record has been investigating a mysterious former FBI profiler for a long while. They both somehow end up in the same investigation crime team which sparks their romance. ~ DramaWiki (w/edits)

Review


I watched this last year and again just recently.

There is no romance.

Well, they kiss in the final scenes,




but the rest of the time it was more like this,




However, it stars two of my favorite actors as the leads and so-called love interests.

This is a crime thriller detective mystery involving the two leads, who knew one another as children and suffered similar fates which tied them back then and now.

Two young boys witness their mother's brutal murder, and later, when their father (an early-days police profiler/psychologist) is left to take care of them, he ends up suffering the same fate as his wife, leaving the boys orphaned.

Lee Hyun (Seo In guk) and his little brother, Jung Sun ho (Park Bo gum) are separated at that point, and Lee Hyun ends up living with a female officer from the same precinct where his father used to work.

Lee Hyun grows up to be a Profiler with the FBI and returns to Korea after receiving a cryptic and unsigned message that takes him back to that fateful time in his childhood.

He's never forgotten his little brother and has every intention of searching for him now that he's returned to Seoul.

Lee hyun joins an elite task force that works homicide, along with their new team captain, Kang Eun hyeok (Lee Cheun hee) and the resident forensics specialist, Lee Joon ho (Choi Won young).

Later, we meet attorney Jung Sun ho, who instantly recognizes his older brother while Lee hyun does not (even if Lee hyun is a genius).




The drama covers a few cases while also delving a bit deeper into the past, and most of the cases involve or are indirectly related to abused children.

This was slow and methodical, so if you're not into that kind of thing, you won't enjoy this story because it was a whole lot of back & forth, rehash, and creeping their way toward the inevitable.

While also working desperately hard to solve a few other crimes that come the task force's way.

Despite the dead father's twisted notions about which of his two sons would eventually become neurotic and psychopath (even if he was a professor of psychology), I wasn't convinced that Lee Hyun could turn out to be as well-adjusted and 'normal' as they made him be.

Even if it was the writer's attempt to show us how cold and unattached he'd become, his inability to conform to social norms would be the least of his problems after everything he endured as a child,
but . . .

Lee Chun hee was there for comedic relief that tended not to work because of the dark undertone of the story line.

There were two red herrings tossed in as well, but I managed to figure out who the real culprit was almost immediately, so the writer's attempt to throw me off the scent didn't work.

Anything not involving a Cinderella plot interests me, so I gave this one high marks for that reason and because the story itself proved really interesting (despite some glaringly apparent reality errors).

The subs were okay, but very childish (Viki team) and with a lot of elementary grammar issues that made me laugh.

Also, in the middle of nearly every episode, they played this high-pitch whine sound that really started to bug me and give me a mild migraine.

The soundtrack wasn't too bad, though.

Oh, and there's this




Saturday, March 26, 2016

Mop Girl


モップガール

Format -  Renzoku
Genre -  Mystery, fantasy, comedy
Episodes -  10
Viewer Rating -  10.2
Network -  TV Asahi
Broadcast -  2007, Oct to Dec




Cast




Synopsis


Kitagawa plays the part of the slow but hardworking Momoko, a low-ranking employee at a funeral services company who carries a mop as part of her job. However, Momoko happens to possess a strange ability. Whenever she comes across the corpse of someone who has left strong feelings behind, she travels back in time to save that person from his or her fate. --Tokyograph

Review


I just wish I had ignored everything when this first aired and watched it in its entirety.

Then I realized that even if I had wanted to do that, it wasn't possible because it took YEARS for every episode to upload online in order for me to watch them all.

Plus, when this first aired, the cover, the coverage, and the synopsis drove me away.

And I don't know why, because this turned out to be a hidden gem I was more than pleased to have watched and wished afterward that it would go on for another 10 episodes.

Momoko is 21 and making every effort to live her own life in her own way and not be influenced by her Head of a Hospital father or her Doctor brother.

She wants to run a Bridal Catering Business but fails in her first attempt because among other things, Momoko is kind of dumb and tends to make a lot of mistakes.




So, a temp agency sends her to work at a Funeral Planning place.

The Mop Girl reference enters the picture because her new job entails her having to clean up the various crime scenes the local police ask this Funeral Planning business to visit.

It is Momoko's job to mop up the blood.

Asami Reina plays Momoko's best friend, and Shosuke Tanihara is her overlord at the Funeral business.

He ends up having to help Momoko every time she's sent back to right wrongs.

When she was a little girl, Momoko ran out into traffic and nearly died when a wayward motorcycle came flying toward her, but a young woman pushed Momoko to safety.

That woman was seriously injured, and when little Momoko clasps her savior's hand, the woman tells her to carry on the business of helping those who need it most.

Now that Momoko is working with the dead, that prophecy comes into play, and when Momoko touches an object owned or worn by the deceased, she is taken back in time and made to re-write the death scenario.

A lot of Japanese humor is involved, and Momoko says and does some weird stuff along with making a lot of weird faces.

I didn't watch this for the humor, though.

I stopped enjoying Japanese humor about a decade ago.

Why I watched and enjoyed this one is because I like their ability to take an otherwise redundant subject and work magic again and again.

So what if each episode showed someone dying and then Momoko brings everything back around.

Each instance was new and with a new set of characters, so it had merit.

What I'm really anxious for from Japan is to start seeing real romance, real affection for one another, and more touchy-feely kinds of action in a well-written and all-star cast line-up.

I won't hold my breath, though.



Friday, March 25, 2016

Neighborhood Hero


동네의 영웅


Title -  Dongneui Yeongung
Aka -  Local Hero
Writer -  Jang Min suk
Genre -  Action, Espionage
Episodes -  16
Network -  OCN
Broadcast - 2016, Jan to Mar
Cinderella -  Nope



Cast


Park Shi hoo                      Jo Sung ha               Lee Soo hyuk                     Kwon Yu ri        


Plot


Secret agent Baek Shi yoon (Park Shi hoo) leaves behind his previous life of danger to run a bar in a small town, where he helps the locals with their problems. ~ DramaWiki (w/edits)

Review


Kind of, but not quite.

This is more about Baek Shi yoon trying to right a three-year old wrong that occurred in Macao during his last mission as a Secret Agent.

The 16-episode nail-biter begins with him entering a spacious bar (more like a lounge) called Neighborhood, which just happens to be located in a quiet neighborhood of Seoul known as the
Culture District.

The 'bar' owner is an old man who plays a key role in the first quarter of this thriller, but we don't learn right away what his actual role is or about his connection to Shi yoon.

The old man is preparing to sell Neighborhood and Shi yoon ends up buying it with the promise to keep everything (and everyone) exactly as it is with zero changes.




Kwon Yu ri's Bae Jung yeon is a part-time hostess and aspiring script writer in the process of completing a Spy Thriller piece for a contest she's hoping to win.

Lee Soo hyuk's Choi Chan gyoo is an aspiring Policeman who continues to fail the entrance exam and wanders into Neighborhood, thus striking up a friendship with all three.

Jung yeon's friend owns a small cafe in the Culture District, which is being strong-armed by hired thugs to vacate their businesses in order for a super-mall, Something Hallyu Mall, to be built.

The thugs are intimidating Jung yeon's friend with their thug-like tactics, and Shi yoon ju-ust happens to overhear and witness the confrontation, so he slips a ball cap atop his head and enters the shop, kicking the thug's ass big-time.

Jung yeon is blown away and proceeds to start a legend-tale about the Neighborhood Hero she titles The Shadow.




There are as many bad guys in this one as there are good, but the amount of red herrings tossed our way each episode became difficult to keep up with until I gave up trying to second-guess anything and just sat back to be entertained without trying.

There were a few intense scenes as well, but none more terrifying or shocking, really, as the one that involved our Is He or Isn't He detective, Im Tae ho (Jo Sung ha) being manipulated by his sunbae.

The police department head is being bought by the New York born & raised street rat turned entrepreneur who is hell-bent on building this ...Hallyu Mall thing smack dab in the heart of Seoul's 'culture' district.

Tae ho is easily talked into entering an aside business by this sunbae for a whopping 3m Won a week, which translates to roughly 2500 a week U.S.

Tae ho's boss is a muddleheaded guy who plays both sides until the very end, but his underlings remain true to their calling start to finish.

Here's where things begin to fall apart, though.

This sinister Sunbae with tons and tons of Won to toss around seemed like he had a big part until it was time for him to exit stage left, and then it was like Why Was This Guy Involved at All?

Then there is the other Sunbae who worked alongside Shi yoon and a few other Agents, whom they loved and trusted the way that they would a real hyung/oppa until the fated Macao incident that (supposedly) set this whole thing in motion.

So, with the table now turned, we're led to believe that he is the bad guy, the Detective's Sunbae is a worse guy, and this New York street rat (who can't speak a lick of proper English, btw) is a really, REALLY bad guy.



But, why?

Why all the false trails when we know what happened in Macao and why Shi hoon is so determined to get to the bottom of that issue?

It is understandable that the Police Commissioner would be taking bribes and that his subordinate would look the other way . . . and even that seemingly adorable Det. Tae ho is eager and willing to participate in an utterly questionable side job offered by an equally questionable Sunbae.

We're not supposed to believe anyone, I get that much.

I just don't get why.

It was too much too fast and too soon for me to really comprehend the heart of the issue (the PLOT), which leads me to my second beef with this one.

What the hell WAS the plot, exactly?

The super mall (with its massive clothes pin design up top) that will replace a few city blocks and displace hundreds of people and their livelihoods?

The fact that an outside interest is in control of the police AND the CIO?

Or, was I honestly supposed to cling to the original premise: the Macao fiasco that took the life of a fellow agent?

Was it really Shi yoon's revenge plan that was supposed to lead this drama to a believable conclusion?




It certainly didn't revolve around his becoming The Shadow and righting wrongs that happen to citizens of The Culture District.

Wait.

It was the memoirs written by the old man, wasn't it?

*Sigh

And, what was it about Choi Chan gyoo (Lee Soo hyuk) that left me feeling so empty and unfulfilled inside?

What about his desire to learn Martial Arts from Shi yoon so that he could play The Shadow, too?

Why was this touched upon numerous times and yet never acted upon at any point?

At the start of the drama, Chan gyoo is only interested in passing the entrance exam to become a full-fledge cop.

Then he's hell-bent on becoming The Shadow.

For sixteen episodes both are conveniently forgotten so that he can vacillate between the good-guy/bad-guy routine, which never felt right or seemed believable at any time.

Chan gyoo's role seemed viable and then it didn't, and then it made sense, and then it seemed pointless and confusing.


Lee Soo hyuk

He just never really amounted to anything no matter how hard he tried or SAID he wanted to try, and that makes no sense.

The only real scenario that felt fully developed and ran smoothly was the relationship between Det. Tae ho and his family, and with his chuckling yet sinister Sunbae.

However, his wife started to play an important role as an advisor of sorts, but then she just  poof  and reverted back to the dutiful wife role, rarely seen or heard from again.

WHY?

The 'Shadow' premise fell by the wayside a few episodes in and never really amounted to anything, either. Although it was resuscitated at the end.





The residents fighting to keep their businesses running while being threatened by second-rate thugs whom a most terrifying, power-hungry man hired to get that job done, also seemed to come and go at random points in the sixteen episodes, too.

That aspect took up a good few episodes before fading into oblivion and then being resurrected a third of the way through for a repeat performance of the same thing and then it drifted away silently before returning in the middle of episode sixteen -- with a very cheesy, lackluster finale, I might add.

Also, the two romances that never got off the ground even if one of them proved shockingly non-Korean in its brief, five-minute lifespan somewhere in the first half of the show.



the only time I'm ever a big fan of 'reality' TV 

Shi yoon's agent girlfriend (another Is She or Isn't She) was the only one I felt wasn't quite deserving of a big-star role like this one.

She is stiff, predictable, and doesn't appear to take herself or her role seriously, so it was a turn-off and made me wish she wasn't there at all.

Knowing I am at the mercy of incompetent/lazy subbers, it was confusing to hear American names being tossed out there for dramatic effect and obvious intent, but again, the names were dropped and then never came up again.

Ever.

So, why?

This was simply way too much information, sub-plotting, and smoke screen for me to actually get into the story as much as I really wanted to do, and with a whole lot of unnecessary and forgotten to make it all the more confusing to follow.

And yet it was still a good watch loaded with plenty of action, suspense, and mystery.


The ending was cute, too.

I just don't know for sure if it hinted at a second season, and if it did, I don't know how interested I'd be in watching more of this convoluted way of thinking script writing.

Pick a plot and run with it, and if you add sub-plots, fine, just don't let them dominate and cause the main plot to become vague to the viewer.

And, for heaven's sake, study up on mystery writing before making a second attempt.

Wanting to employ EVERY formulaic genre ideal to tell an already complex tale involving intrigue is asking way too much of the viewer and only adds to the overall confusion a GOOD mystery is supposed to entail.

I gave this one 4 stars for the entertainment value and non-Cinderella, nothing more.











Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Technicians


기술자들

The Con Artists
Romanization: Gisooljadeul
Genre: Action / Team Heist
Writer: Kim Yang joong, Kim Hong sun
Release Date: Dec, 2014




Cast


Kim Woo bin                                        Ko Chang seok                                            Lee Hyun woo                            

Plot


Three con men are enlisted by a fourth to steal 150 billion won hidden within Incheon Customs, and they have a 40-minute time frame to get the job done. ~Han Cinema (w/edits)


Review


The Moorim School babyface (Lee Hyun woo) is Jong bae, a professional hacker and not-very-nice guy who gets involved with Woo bin's Ji hyeok, a young man with an Art degree, and his side-kick, Koo in (Ko Chang seok).

The 'Art Degree' just means Ji hyeok is capable of things like forgery, counterfeit, and replication.

Koo in's talent lies in the technical aspects of Ji hyeok's 'profession' and the two work well together, amassing a small fortune when Ji hyeok decides it's time to go after larger gain -- a safe inside a jewelry shop.

He's also busy chatting up a pretty woman who runs a gallery, and we find out why later in the movie.

Things get interesting in a nail-biter way when another con artist and gangpae-style mob boss enters the picture, enlisting Ji hyeok's help in cracking another 'safe', as it were, so that he can get back at the politicians who snubbed him at campaign time, costing him a congressional seat.

Because the pissed off dude is thug, Ji hyeok and his two buddies are forced to participate in a far-fetched scheme to replace 150 billion won with coupons that look like real won.

This is an action-packed thrill ride and received a 5-star review because of that fact, because it starred Woo bin, because the director didn't make the police look like assholes, and because even the soundtrack (especially the end track) was great.

Twists and turns abound as well, making it an even more delightful watch.

The subs were off by a few seconds throughout, but at least I didn't have to pay to watch this one (take that, Dramafever).

And now I leave you with some screen captures.


Kim Woo bin


Kim Woo bin

Kim Woo bin Shower Scene

Kim Woo bin great guns

Kim Woo bin Smile

Saturday, March 19, 2016

FRIEND (Chingu) 2001, 2009, and 2013


친구


Director - Kwak Kyung-Taek
Writer -  Kwak Kyung-Taek
Genre -  Gangpae, Reminisce
Related titles -  Friend, Our Legend | Chingoo, Woorideului Jeonseol (MBC / 2009)
                          Friend, The Great Legacy | Chingoo 2 (2013)
Release Date -  March 31, 2001

Cast




Plot

The director's experience with his real friends, a semi-autobiographical account set in Busan. The actors speak with a strong Busan dialect.
Joon-suk, son of a vigilant gang boss; Dong-su, only son of an undertaker; Sang-taek, a diligent student; and Joong-ho, who never keeps his mouth shut. They walked the streets with their heads held high, shoulders straight, and chests out, fearing nothing when they were together. Friends who share their porn magazine fantasies and awe of Bruce Lee's Kungfu. Each life takes a different turn. Joon-suk becomes the leading henchman of his father's crime ring and Dong-su is serving for Joon-suk's rival gang. Sang-taek and Joong-ho find themselves helplessly watching their two best friends wield knives at each other.   ~DramaWiki (w/edits)

Friend was nominated for five awards and won three. At the 46th Asia-Pacific Film Festival, Yu Oh-seong and Jang Dong-gun won the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor awards.


Review

Gritty, intense, and bloody account of four young men growing up in Busan back in the seventies and through approximately twenty years, when lives climax and fade away.

It is obvious why this film garnered nominations, awards, and is one of the highest watched films from Korea.

Long-running as well, with a 2009 MBC remake, Friend, Our Legend, directed by Kwak Kyung-taek, was 20-episodes for television and starred Hyun Bin as Dong-su and Kim Min-joon as Joon-seok.



This was an adaptation of the original movie and was far more bloody and indepth than the original, with greater emphasis falling back on the personal lives of all four boys, their connection to one another throughout, and their eminent demise toward the end -- except for the narrator (writer) who chose an entirely separate path from the other three.

And Friend: The Great Legacy, Director:Writer Kwak Kyung taek (again) is the 2013 sequel where Yu Oh-seong reprises his role. It takes place seventeen years after the events of the original film. In it, Joon-seok meets the grown-up son of Dong-su (Kim Woo-bin), and is interspersed with scenes of Joon-seok's own father (Joo Jin-mo) in 1963.

친구 2


Plot


Joon seok (Yu Oh-Seong) is in prison for almost 17 years now when a woman comes to the prison and requests that Joon seok protect her son from other gang members. Joon seok then takes Sung hoon under his wing in prison.

When Joon seok is released from prison, he learns that Eun ki (Jung Ho-Bin) has gotten rid of his men and now dominates the gang which Joon seok's father (Joo Jin-Mo) started. Joon seok plots to take back control.

When Sung hoon is released from prison, he works for Joon seok in a power struggle against Eun ki.



My introduction to this story came with the MBC Television remake that starred Hyun bin, which I watched three times over the years.

This is my very first viewing of the original movie (2001), and last night I finally watched the sequel that stars Kim Woo bin.

The direction that the 2001 movie and its 2013 sequel take are more obvious about who is actually behind the scenes and calling a majority of the shots (writer, director Kwak Kyung taek) since this is his story and his childhood we're watching unfold.

A lot of the original cast (those who weren't massacred in 2001, that is) returned for the 2013 sequel, which added depth and interest.

2001 is about the four boys and their lives after coming-of-age, and the 2013 sequel centers around Woo bin's character. The sequel also delves a little deeper into the life of Lee Jun seok's father, the original gangpae wizard.

Loose ends are cleared up in the 2013 version as well, but for those of you who haven't watched either yet, I can't say anything that won't end up being a spoiler, so . . .

I thought that Yu Oh seong did a terrific job in both. He's a bad ass through and through and has that look that terrifies, doesn't he?

As for our young, brash Woo bin, he's a keeper.

Like Oh seong, Woo bin has the look, and both men use their eyes to convey a whole lot, without the need of words or a loud voice to get their message across.

It's as sexy as it is terrifying, but I love it in either case because it is so compelling.

The cigarette drop toward the end of 2001 comes up again in 2013, but after having watched both movies (in a row), I still don't see or comprehend Jun seok's knowledge of what occurred as a result.

Well, I do and I don't, and maybe that has something to do with Jun seok's reaction in 2013.

I'd recommend both movies as a 'pass some time' event, but not if you're squeamish (like me) because you'll be turning away from the screen on more than one occasion.

Woo bin's performance is worth the anxiety, though.





Thursday, March 17, 2016

Madame Antoine


마담 앙트완

Drama: Madame Antoine
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Writer: Hong Jin ah
Network: JTBC
Episodes: 16
Release Date: Jan - Mar, 2016
Cinderella: No



Cast



Plot


Ko Hye rim (Han Ye seul) is Madame Antoine, a divorced fortune-teller. She insists that she is spiritually connected to Marie Antoinette, but the truth is she can read people due to a keen sense of awareness. She adores Romantic melodramas and dreams of a love like that.

Psychotherapist Choi Soo hyun (Sung Joon) tricks Hye rim into taking part in a psychological test project. His goal is to prove that true love does not exist, and that women especially are incapable of love. Coincidentally, the name for his psychological treatment center is Madame Antoine. ~AsiaWiki (w/edits)


Review


So now I just love Sung Joon even more.



This was good.

Better than good, really.

It was great but not outstanding enough for 5 stars.

I'll get to the reason for that in a moment.

The story was on the original side, and it wasn't formulaic Cinderella stuff since everyone involved (women as well as the men) were all self-sufficient and mature;

kind of


established in their respective careers and therefore not in need of  'a man' to make everything whole and right.

No woman was chased after by two handsome, wealthy swains, and the leading lady was in her mid-thirties, divorced, and with a seven-year-old daughter.

Hye rim runs a quaint Café just outside the big city, and as a part of her service, she reads fortunes under the guise of her being able to channel the late Marie Antoinette (hence the Madame Antoine thing).

What she actually does is hide behind a hand fan and speak basic French phrases she learned in a travel guide. Luckily, a majority of her clients don't understand the language and therefore believe she's actually momentarily possessed by the late Queen of France.

What she's good at is reading people via outward clues such as handbag choice, hairstyle, body language, and mannerisms and is nearly precise at pinpointing the client's actual needs/wants. Nine out of ten times she's spot on, too.

Along comes Psychotherapist Choi Soo hyun (Sung Joon) and his dastardly deed of tricking Hye rim into participating in his latest experiment.



He's bucking for grant money to further his research into the theory that love isn't real and that women especially are incapable of love on any plain.

His half-brother (Jinwoon as Choi Seung chan) a retired baseball player, and a young genius (Lee Ju hyung as Won Ji ho) with a Fellowship are decoys in this experiment and set out to entice Hye rim into falling for them.

Soo hyun is bait as well.

Hye rim is wary of love due to a failed first marriage, but she isn't immune to the emotion or Soo hyun's natural charms.

Until she discovers the truth and then things become all the more interesting.

Both leads have trust issues, and these need to be resolved in order for their relationship to become grounded.



There were also several aside stories that needed the help of both the psychoanalyst and the gypsy, which were interesting but too few and far between to add any depth or value to the plot.

I laughed as much as I shed tears, and I waited anxiously for each episode to upload so that I could get my fill of this one even if it wasn't all that terrific.


Here's Why it Wasn't


Superficial things include Hye rim's oddball wardrobe choices that didn't quite suit her age and sometimes ended up being hard on the eyes.

Hye rim's sometimes behaving more like an immature nineteen-year-old than the mature woman of thirty-six with a failed marriage and a child under her belt whom she is supposed to be.

The overall lack of chemistry between the two leads was a huge disappointment.



However, I will concede that Soo hyun's personality called for his being aloof,



but there were plenty of romantic moments between them that never really gave me the impression it was genuine or heartfelt in either's case.

It was more like watching someone attempt to make two magnets stick together on their positive sides.

She was good in the maternal sense, which is hardly romantic on any level, and he remained man-child throughout: stubbornly refusing to remove the self-imposed blinders and accept anything at face value, including his own inclinations towards emotional commitment, which makes for an extremely difficult love interest.

This also gave a mixed message feel in that it was like watching a Cinderella tweener drama that wasn't filled with KPop boys and wealthy heartthrobs vying for the mousy leading lady's affections.

I had no idea if I was supposed to assume this was a romantic comedy, a melodrama, a human interest, or a bubblegum themed story.

And the inexplicable fact that it starred Jang Mi hee as Bae Mi ran, another psychologist with educational and practice ties to Soo hyun.

Her story and reason for being in this production threw everything off balance and made me very uncomfortable.






The better romance occurred between Hye rim's younger sister and the baby-boy genius working for Soo hyun.

shocking!

But since that isn't why I wanted to watch this show and they weren't the two leads, it kind of fell flat with me.

The preponderance of age in marriage that is so overrated and annoying cropped up again.

At one point in the story, Hye rim angrily tells her younger sister, who is engaged to the young boy wonder, that her failed marriage was due to their inability to get along and accept each other's differences.

Age 21 or age 31, you don't really know someone until you live with them, so 21 and 31 will experience the same growing pains and the same personality flaws in marriage.

21 might be immature, but not always, and with youth there is growth whereas 31 is definitely set in their ways and much less likely to tolerate change, so where is the logic?

Hye rim finally decides to accept this engagement, but after her sister rattles off a litany of  'to-do'  items that all consisted of financial planning. Not love, family, or reason, but money.

So, it's money and financial stability ALONE that make a marriage, not age or love or wanting to raise a family with someone you're crazy about.

Yeesh.

Still not buying it.

Maybe if Soo hyun hadn't dragged out that experiment as long as he had, and after twice insisting that it was over, this might have worked to merit 5 stars.

If the romance had actually blossomed and gone somewhere without all of the push-me, pull-you that went on in every episode, this could have been better.

The Subs



twice now I've seen this, and it makes me very nervous
 I don't think the subbers actually know what this implies


like nails scraping a chalkboard


Yeppeun



cool beaded wall


I don't know how he did this


cute couple


pretty boy



yuck, but the background is kawaii!



like a moth to the flame, I adore bright lights and shiny things