I love this blog, and I keep rabidly consuming K-dramas so why I can’t seem to combine the two more often is beyond me. It’s hard to believe I’m a week away from having gone two months with nada a post. For those extremly few who follow my blog faithfully, I beg your forgiveness and vow that I shall endeavour to post something at least once every two days. But what, you ask, got me back on posting? (Hint: it’s in the title)
SHE WAS PRETTY IS BOMBTASTIC!
I wish I had words enough to express how much I’m loving this show. I was pumped from the start way back in July/August upon hearing the casting and KMHM reunion. And the fact that Park Seojoon’s character’s name is JI SUNGJOON? Writer’s a shipper for sure. Ji Sung’s chuckling merrily somewhere. But let’s get back on track. Like Kill Me Heal Me, this is a very character-driven show. So here are my honest thoughts on our lead foursome.
Kim Hyejin is a breath of fresh air among Candys. Despite her looks and what society says about them (especially given the state of affairs with women and looks in Korea), this girl loves herself. This doesn’t mean that what others think or blatantly say to her face doesn’t hurt, but that she’s confident enough in her abilities, in her personality and in who she is, to smile despite the sting. She’s warm, and cheerful but not to a fault and knows when to laugh at herself and see the funny side of the situation she’s in. Plus she’s not afraid to stand up for herself when necessary (Right, Ji Sungjoon?).
[Note: There are those who might take offense at how badly Ji Sungjoon’s arrival rattled her up, or call that misogynistic writing (which I think is ridiculous). As she tells Shinhyuk wistfully, he is a reminder of a time when she was popular, well-liked, beautiful, and slated for success. She is no longer than person, and that is the reality of it. The social world treats her differently now. The shoe’s on the opposite foot with him. It’s very telling that she was so comfortable and excited when she believed that larger guy was Sungjoon but froze up the second she saw that the real one was bloody hot. In that second, her anticipation deflated, she fully expected rejection and embarrassment if she revealed that she was that Kim Hyejin. Yes, a small part of why she hides is due to being ashamed of her present situation, but the larger part is because he’s gorgeous now, and she can’t count on him being the same person he used to be.]
She knows very well how the world sees her but that doesn’t stop her from trying or turning jaded and embittered. Seeing her ‘you’re just being nice’ when Shinhyuk gently told her that she was pretty shows that she knows she’s unattractive by societal standards but loves herself anyway. Neither is she going to pile on the makeup or spend hours taming her hair because she’s too busy working her butt off, and really, she has no reason to. Kim Hyejin is without artifice and honestly the girl you want to have at your side when the zombies attack because she will plow her way through to save you. She is gold inside and out. I love her so freaking much and can I just say that Hwang Jungeum is slaying this role as usual.
Ji Sungjoon on the other hand is one strange fella. I walked away from ep 1 thinking he was dreamworthy, then ep2,3 and 4 came around and I went what the hell? at his strange transformation. I felt really bad for everyone involved for an hour or two because I thought this was literally going to be one of those ‘asshole man falls for girl and gets lobotomy’ dramas but thankfully, I’m wrong. There is more to the man that what means the eye. All that talk of three minutes and all those harsh lectures directed at undeserving Hyejin or someone else don’t seem to be meant for them at times. There’s a strange urgency that drives his words, especially to Hyejin, that makes me wonder. Almost as if they’re words he’s heard before.
[Note: this doesn’t mean that I think those lectures are great. The writer, whom I’m trusting in here, better have a fantastic explanation for why he acted the way he did or I’m going to be disappointed, especially since the actors are doing such a bang-on job.]
But more disturbing than that are his meals. the man has coffee (or flower water) for breakfast, coffee for lunch, and I suspect water for dinner. That, coupled with his sudden weight loss and all those hints the show keeps throwing out hint at something very dark having happened to him in America. He keeps nothing but water in his fridge. He tunes out everything the moment that tablet is in his hand and often walks into glass. He drinks flower water without noticing that it isn’t coffee. This is the same really disturbing, goosebump-inducing feeling I had during episode 14 of Kill Me Heal Me when I realized that it wasn’t Cha Dohyun who’d been abused. I think Ji Sungjoon has severe anorexia. As awful as this is, I would LOVE if this is true and the show goes full on in this direction, like KMHM did with the abuse. Male anorexia is unfortunately barely spoken of in Western media and I’m glad to see some deep addressing of the fact that beauty ideals hurt men just as badly as they do women. That six-pack didn’t come for free (thank you show, for the shower scene) that’s for sure. But disorder aside, I do love Sungjoon as a person. The only person he lets his guard down with is ‘Hyejin’ he blocks off everyone else. The wonderful LollyPip over at dramabeans has already addressed how wonderful it is that this show is addressing first love so scientifically so I’ll leave it at that. But it’s wonderful that he’s realizing that something is off here and that the Hyejin he’s falling for isn’t the one he thinks he should be. It’s not because they’re “meant for each other” or were each other’s first loves or because he’s gotten hot now (because she liked him before without giving a crap about his weight) but because there’s something in the other that even time can’t dull the radiance of. And I can’t wait to see how badly this is going to trip him up (I died when he sat on Hyejin’s lap).
Park Seojoon is hitting it out of the park here. That anxiety attack in the car was brilliantly done (and brought back KMHM vibes) and it’s so wonderful to have a wonderful effing gorgeous actor like him bringing such nuance to his character along with Hwang Jungeum.
Shinhyuk is a hoot! Choi Siwon, I thought I couldn’t love you more but here we are! Just marry me already and I’ll buy you meals for the rest of your life, how about that? The man is such a weirdo! And I just love it! He’s incredibly honest, cheeky, and one of those people who like prodding sleeping dragons just to see their reactions but in this way that makes the dragon confused on whether to incinerate him or feed him. He is exactly what Hyejin needs in a friend and I love how he literally takes their new brother-sister relationship at face value instantly, and buys her cold medicine and is just the world’s largest sweetheart. I mean, he’s spoon-feeding Sungjoon at 1am because Hyejin got worried (and because he wants food), how adorable is that?
I’m sorry, things are going to get a bit incoherent (Hyejin at the start of ep 5-style) but hopefully, like Sungjoon you’ll understand me anyway.
And oh my god, that butt jiggle he did and Sungjoon’s horrified face and the fact that he stole the man’s underwear and bathrobe and KEEPS SAYING PANTY. And his weird obsession with fist-bumps and hi-fives and OH MY GOSH HIS CRAZY EYES I LOVE SIWON’S CRAZY EYES. And that slow-motion hug and that it was for “bromance research” BRO, I VOLUNTEER AS RESEARCH SUBJECT and that he looks out for Hyejin and gets the puzzle piece and that really sad face he made talking about his sister and that gentle “but you’re still pretty” he says to Hyejin and that cute smile he gives her when she says they’re brother and sister now and I AM NOT OKAY PEOPLE.
Not sure if I love Siwon or his character more.
Now we come to perhaps they most controversial (from what I’ve seen in the comments) character in the show. Min Hari clearly has a wonderful relationship with Hyejin. They’re sisters, call each other ‘wife’ and ‘husband’ and take care of each other in the best ways possible. So what on earth is Hari doing with Sungjoon? I find the contrast between the two women quite fascinating. Hyejin earns respect wherever she goes not because of what she looks like but before of who she is and how hard she works. People like Shinhyuk like her for who she is right from the bat. Meanwhile, Hari has the world at her feet without trying but can’t get people to look past her looks and like her for her. Just as we saw with the party in episode 1, the guys she hooks up with are nothing more than a way for her to get past her loneliness. And so when she meets this really sweet-natured guy who actually cares about her well-being but lets her handle the situation without stepping in (respecting her ability to handle herself) she is understandably dazzled. Given her familial situation, and her wealth, it’s easy to see how she’s grown into this lonely, even if slightly spoilt woman. It’s sort of like when you’re in high school and the best-looking guy in your year (who’s dating someone else) is your partner for a project. You know he’s definitely not going to be yours but you’ll still put on your best clothes and makeup on those days you’re working with him. You’ll still secretly fantasize that there could, no, there is a chance that he could fall for you. And if things get real bad, you’ll start to misconstrue every inch of his body language. You don’t care that he’s dating someone else. It becomes all about you, how you deserve him, how you’re better anyway, how he understands you. You can’t see further than yourself. And that’s definitely what’s happening here.
Despite whatever’s going on with her dysfunctional family, Hari has a wonderful, supportive second family in Hyejin’s family and it’s double the betrayal for her to keep at this pretense of being Hyejin and even going as far as to steal the puzzle piece. Every time I look at her, I see that confused, yet determined high school girl. It’s an incredibly poor decision to make but the great thing is you can see every inch leading to her going down that path, her attempts to get out of the situation, her softening, her enjoying his company, Shinhyuk’s excellent (but not applicable to situation, unfortunately) advice, all of which has led to her choosing the wrong pair of shoes. And they’re going to pinch her tight before she can take them off.
Both ladies have wonderful relationships with Shinhyuk because he’s such an easygoing, happy (strange) fella. Sungjoon on the other hand is still awkward around Hyejin and confused around ‘Hyejin’. And he is NOT happy around Shinhyuk. Word of the day: panty.
Besides really, really, really, recommending that people check out this drama just to relax unwind, get to know some great characters and laugh out loud (a lot), I also recommend that you check out the shoot our lovely foursome did for Cosmopolitcan. Mamma mia, that is one awkward pose but they look hella fine.