Managing to pull myself away from Liar Game’s engrossing beauty, I decided to explore Pinocchio’s urban fantasy world. It was almost a preparation of sorts for Liar Game’s inevitable finale next week and my way of adjustment to a post-Liar Game dramaverse. I rarely fall hard for dramas, most fall into realms I’ve categorized as: overrated, sudden death by plot (*coughcoughTrotLovers*), or contrived. And I’m glad to say that Pinocchio is (as of yet) none of those. This year in dramas has been a pleasant surprise, from the beautiful Miss Korea that brought me back into K-dramas to the magnificent Liar Game that cemented my stay.
Pinocchio’s first episodes brings up the same sense of injustice that characterized the start of I Hear Your Voice (which was by the same screenwriter) and I’m looking forward to seeing how our lead’s fateful connection plays out, seeing that this isn’t IHYV where one saved the other, but where pieces of Choi Inha (CIH) are a painful reminder of the injustice Choi DalPo (formerly Ki HaMyung) endured. The characters pop straight into your screen, with LJS building off his younger counterpart seamlessly, and PSH turning a surprisingly less bland performance than I’d have thought. Her naivete is a bit grating at the moment (unlike NDJ which just makes me want to give her a hug) but as it’s explained away as part of her small-town upbringing and the Pinocchio syndrome that will characterize this drama, I’m looking forward to watching her mature.
The drama moves a rather fast pace in some aspects, and plods along in others. We’ve seen CDP’s childhood and how it grew to intertwine with CIH, we’ve seen them go from ‘enemies’ to people who rely on each other. We’ve seen them, 5 years, 8 years, 1 month into the future but we’ve yet to even reach 2014, meaning that the four episodes as of yet have been backstory. Not that I mind considering that the entire Choi family and our two leads are absolutely adorable, but it would be nice to get a good sense of where this was going seeing as IHYV took only 1 episode to set up the backstory and plunged straight into Min JoongGook coming after them all. Perhaps it’s a given that I’ll be comparing the two seeing as I’m eager to see how much this writer has grown as well (and I adored IHYV, which kickstarted my appreciation of LJS).
But the romance flared almost instantaneously between the children (one-sided at any rate), between their highschool selves, and quite suddenly between their (present?) adult selves, which was a bit surprising to see considering how slow dramas usually are with that sort of thing and how much they love the denial game (*coughcoughMarriagenotDating*). There’s also this sense of lushness during their highschool years. A quiet peace and beautiful scenic shots that are really refreshing to see. The only drama that ever managed to capture beauty, warmth and heart in such a way for me, was Angel Eyes. And it’s nice to see other K-dramas attempting it.
That being said, I’m preparing myself for plenty of noble idiocy and well-meaning fathers (as you honestly can’t call CIH’s father particularly overbearing). The secondary characters, Seo Beomjoo, and Yoon Yoorae (played by the cuper cute Lee Yubi whom I like much more in this role as opposed to her Book of the House of Gu character) have yet to be fully fleshed out but the basic idea is apparent. I already like YYR who appears to be quite the go-getter (even though the sasaeng backstory remains a bit iffy for me). I hope she remains that way instead of (heaven forbid) developing a crush on CDP and turning manipulative.
IHYV managed to stay away from machinations like that I really hope that this drama sticks to its guns as well. Seo Beomjoo (SBJ) honestly comes off as a sleaze rather than anything. I don’t get how you’d explain away why you’d give a Pinocchio such unnecessarily high expectations for years, and actively encourage the impression that a (clearly uncaring) mother was still there for here. In fact, it’s a little creepy when you consider how much she poured her heart out over the years to this guy, who appears to have enjoyed it immensely. And playing racing games with a bus isn’t doing much to endear him to me (or CIH) and just makes me want to throw a traffic safety guidelines book straight at his noggin. It doesn’t help that the fellow who plays SBJ is known to be a massive (excuse the language) dick.
I’m hoping that neither of the these secondary characters actively feels the need to make life tough for our leads and just works together with them in solving problems and growing together (Now I sound like Nam DaJung xD). But even that has a selfish motive, as I honestly just want to see more of CIH and CDP having fun together so that CDP no longer has to speak to his girlfriend GPS (and can I say thank you to SBS for finally hiring a foreigner with some sense of acting chops? I’m looking at you Heirs).
I love the way CDP looks at her (and vice versa, she really does seem to be getting more aware of him. Plus, that transformation was one of the best I’d ever seen (scratch that, it was the best) I was a bit surprised at how calm CIH seemed to be around her now gorgeous “uncle” as I’d have expected the flutters to begin then, if we follow regular K-drama guidelines. But the idea that it has simply been growing for a while and wasn’t prompted by a dramatic transformation is so much sweeter, as so characteristic of the warmth that characterizes this writer works that I have no complaints. This should be a great ride.
(How are you even that calm? I’d be a puddle of jelly on the floor.)
See that, Liar Game? NOW GIVE ME MORE OF IT!! Ah I give up, everything ends up circling back to Ha WooJin and Nam DaJung anyway (hurry up and kiss you two!) At least I’ll have some Pinocchio to warm me on the cold nights that will following this beautiful show’s conclusion.