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  • irmar
    irmar

      8

    The first couple of episodes seemed very cliché, but soon the drama became very interesting and the romance sizzling, thanks to the efforts of Yeon Woo Jin, wonderful as ever. The characters seemed well-written and the actors well-chosen. Then, two or three episodes before the end, the k-drama ending bug hit! Disaster! The main girl started behaving like an idiot, putting herself needlessly in danger, blabbering without any reason... And then we saw the complete flashbacks and realized that she had been a bumbling idiot all along. To be precise, when we saw her running in the mud with that knife in her hands. What do we always tell our kids? “No running with sharp/pointy objects” Where should she put it? In the moment of panic it wasn’t easy to think of some place and she didn’t have her bag. BUT … but it was a freaking jackknife, it can be folded in one second! The whole way Ian died and the accidental stabbing was so far-fetched. The show started to go from ridiculous to ridiculous from then on. The girl (most stupid character in a long time) not only once but TWICE stayed still in the middle of the road looking at a car speeding towards her without moving. With eyes wide open, like a deer or something. Plus, the car, the first time, okay, it was on purpose, the driver wanted to kill them. But the second car, it didn’t even try to use the brakes, it sped on. Not to mention that she goes to meet a potentially dangerous person at night, in a secluded street, or gets into the car of a potential murderer and she chooses as topic of conversation "I now regained my memory and know what you did". Shut up, you fool! In the meanwhile, while the mystery unfolded, the couple’s relationship which supposedly became good, stopped having any interest. There was no chemistry anymore, any tension, any physical contact, any romantic moments of any kind. NOTHING. They started behaving as best friends, or family. And… the finale. The final episode had many of us cursing. Two tired k-drama clichés one on top of the other: Noble idiot and time gap without any contact. Then he comes all cocky and smiling and pinching her cheek patronizingly, as you do to a child, confident her anger is a joke. While there is the "comic style" music in the background, to remind us it's a comic scene. Are you £$%**@ serious? And she takes him back just like that? Without even a good hard slap? Without making him wait for at least six months? By the way, what happened to the reasons that turned him noble idiot? Something changed and he decided that “naah, that was all BS, let’s go back to Korea again”? I hated, hated this. But I would have hated it a bit less if he wasn’t so smiling and confident, if there wasn’t the “funny” music that turned it into a comic scene. So many questions left unsolved. They could have used a few less flashbacks and give us necessary information. Why CEO Jang’s wife left with only the younger son when they were both children? Was Ian really the child of the “other man”? The poor timpanist and his lover, why did they have to part? Why did they give him such an ending, out of the blue? He went to the US to reunite with his wife with whom he was separated, to spend his life in a loveless marriage? Why? Because of the conservative Korean audiences who wouldn't be happy with a divorce? Because Manager Yun had to be punished in some way, since she didn't go to prison and got a promotion? By the way, how did she come out scot-free from all this? What did the prosecution find? Who took the responsibility? CEO Jang somehow protected her? He told her to manage his new cultural center instead of going to jail. Does this imply that he has the power to make her avoid jail? How is he so powerful, if he’s head of a medium company? Who was punished and how? Did President Go, the Chairwoman go to jail for embezzlement or not? And... maestro Nam, was he really smitten by Yi Yeong or not? It seems that he, although in the beginning just pretended to, because he wanted to protect her, he slowly started sincerely liking her. So, now that he knows can't have her for many reasons, he compromises by hooking up again with the beautiful violinist who has loved him all along. How sad. This is also his punishment, since he only paid with one year in prison. And the fact that this brilliant talent is buried in the countryside without a chance to further his career. Who knows how many years would be enough for the Korean public to pardon him? Maybe they never will. The women of Yi Yeong's family were despicable, with no redeeming factor - no, "love" is not the redeeming factor, when in fact you hurt the person you love with your presumption to control their lives, bossing over them and making decisions for them. And let me not start with this so-called psychologist. Fire her ASAP! Do you see now why we have to wait until the end to give ratings and reviews?

  • Reviews - The King Loves
    irmar
    irmar

      7

    I waited a full year before writing this, I was too traumatized after the end of the drama. I want to tie the writers somewhere and slap them silly. There was a plot with potential in a very interesting era, with interesting characters, but they messed it up big time. The love triangle was so badly done that it succeeded in leaving unsatisfied the fans of both men! They played with us in a tiring way giving false clues and dilly-dallying. I read in an interview by the leading actress that they didn’t even tell her until the end whom her character is in love with (the novel wasn’t faithfully followed in many ways, therefore it gave no guarantee about the outcome): with the result that the actress, not knowing what to do, just put a blank face and nobody could guess towards whom she was leaning and what her choice would be. The only redeeming thing is the character of the prince/king: his complexities, motivations and dilemmas are well-developed, and he is masterfully played by one of the most exciting actors of his generation, Im Shiwan, who literally slayed this role. Hong Jong Hyun as his devoted friend and rival was his wooden, talentless self and Yoona was so-so, she did her best I suppose, which is not good enough. Some of the secondary roles were good: for instance the scheming guy and the queen. Production values were lavish: I’m always happy when I see Goryeo costumes, they are so much more becoming, and flattering to the human figure than Joseon ones. I’ll never, never want to watch this again. Recommend watching this to your worst enemy, someone you want to know will suffer.

  • Reviews - My Secret Romance
    irmar
    irmar

      4

    Infuriatingly old-fashioned and predictable. Everything is stolen from other dramas and romantic comedies/melodramas from all eras and all countries. It could be a telenovela, a Hollywood rom-com, or come from any other country in the world. We all knew since episode 1 what would happen next - only a few details may change, otherwise it's like "painting by numbers", or "cookie cutter screenplay". The writer didn’t have what to fill the episodes with and made them shorter. The real content starts at 1:45 and finishes at 43:45. So the actual content is 42 minutes out of the supposed 1 hour. If you take out the flashback, what will be left? Half an hour? I understand some of the flashbacks, because they are both alone thinking of one another, but it was too much. The epilogues were the lamest idea of this show. They just showed again what we had already seen (sometimes with an imperceptible variation), and with completely useless written comments on it. Towards the end it seemed that even those sources dried up, so in ep. 10 a fake and unbelievable misunderstanding was inserted. This episode was on a new level of stupid. The poor actor was made to remain silent at a moment when any reasonable being in the world would say a couple of words to clear the misunderstanding before it even started forming. I sort of pitied him. A small semblance of realism is required. I'm not saying full realism, it's a drama, but still, better writers insert a believable misunderstanding or something. Here they didn't even bother to do that. It's just the male lead looking dejected and saying nothing at the crucial moment. Why? No reason. Other features: Little details carelessly executed. Dialogue repetitive and not leading anywhere, scenes awkwardly cut. A B-series show, if not C-series. Horrid acting too. Even looking at a good-looking man gets boring after a while if there's nothing interesting going on. He has this blank face with a total toolbox of two or three expressions. When there are so many good-looking Korean actors who can also act! Another thing getting on my nerves was the fan service. A little is probably okau but in this drama it's really too much. Every implausible excuse to show Sung Hoon's body. Not that it's not beautiful to look at, but we've been clamouring for decades against the objectification of females in films and TV and now Korean drama is making sex objects of its male actors. Not cool. This drama is so bland, predictable, full of worn clichés, that it is perfect after a stressful day. It numbs your mind and makes a good transition between working out your brain and sleep. This doesn't make it a good drama, though. It's like eating junk food, nothing more.