I have found my attraction to Manhwa turned into dramas very mixed. I really really want to love them, but sometimes their lack of reality was just to hard to overcome to really say I loved it. (I'm talking about you To The Beautiful You and your heroine who MADE NO SENSE). But then there are others that I really enjoyed in all their cracktastic glory (Boys Over Flowers & Goong). So upon starting this drama I was really hesitant to declare it "the next major writing endeavor" of my blogging career. But I am happy to say that I really enjoyed the first episode. It not only had many funny scenes but also had a lot of depth in our pretty boy lead (Sorry but cant really call him our hero since he has a truck load of flaws) that made me really like him despite the fact he is a gold digger.
Please keep in mind that this is not one of those dramas that is going to be super deep and complicated, so I am not comparing it to something that is the level of Secret, but more in the range of You're Beautiful or Playful Kiss. A lot of wonderful fluff that provides tons of entertainment but it is not going to change my life or really touch my soul in any way (at least not so far, I will let you know if that ever changes).
Usually I try to pick out my favorite parts of the episode and create some type of theme around it. However, after watching this episode a second time I realized I really liked almost every scene in the show. They all had a purpose and really did a wonderful job of sucking me into the characters lives. So you all are going to have to enjoy a very thorough review which is not such a bad thing. There is nothing worse when you have to try and find something positive about a drama to talk about. So with that in mind we are just going to start at the beginning and dive right in.
And our beginning starts in an obvious very well to do high rise with our main guy Dokko Mattei (Jang Geun Suk - You're Beautiful, Love Rain, Beethoven's Virus) looking very bored as a lady obviously is bent on subduction. She is his girlfriend, the very very rich and not so bright Jaek Hee (So Yoo Jin) who is intent on buying his love and affection. As she starts to unbutton his shirt she tells him about the car she intends to buy him and he stiffens and orders her to re button his shirt. "Do you think I am that kind of man" he asks and starts to stalk off (seriously, does he actually have morals???? Color me shocked). Jaek Hee cries and follows behind telling him she is so sorry and that all she has to give him is money and how about if she buys him a house?
Aaannnnnnnndddddd he pauses. Oh wait yes yes he is that man. A total gold digger of the first degree. But wow is he a sexy gold digger. With the looks and even more importantly the voice, any girl would melt at his feet.
Enter our heroine Kim Bo Tong (IU - Dream High, Your the Best Lee Soon Shin). Supposedly average in every way. Average looks (which in Korea seems to mean, not your typical plastic surgery actress wannabe), average intelligence or maybe a bit lacking in intelligence, and has a heart of gold which is 100% focused on Mattei for the last ten years of her life. I truly love how she is an unashamed stalker of his from the first second she met him on a bus. She invades his space and decides that he is "the one" for her.
Her feelings of them being fated are confirmed later when he and his mother introduce themselves as new neighbors and have a meal at Bo Tong's family restaurant. She just stands there staring at him asking if he would like some meat grilled. He replies haughtily that he is a vegetarian and promptly eats a whole plate full of ribs that she makes for him. I love the mix between what he says and what he does. It is so cute that he tries to act so aloof and cool and then it is just destroyed by his actions. HEHE.
His love for her mother's ribs inspires her to do a bit of midnight thievery and she steals a whole case of ribs from her moms restaurant. She stealthily makes her way to his house and stakes out the place with a homemade periscope. If I did not already really enjoy her character then I would have been a goner right here because she is beyond cute. Mattei is out in the front yard and they are very serious and talking about how upset Mattei is that he does not know his father. And his mother assures him that when the time is right she will give her son the "codeword" that will connect him with his father.
OKAY.......... looks like we have a birth secret in the works. Possible 2nd family illegitimate son stuff going on. And I have to wonder why it has to be so complicated with talk of "Code Words" and hiding from "people". Why not just say......."son I will tell you your dads name when you are older and better able to fit into your fathers life". That just seems a lot simpler then complicated codes and such. Just saying. Not to mention if you die before letting him know the "code" then he is just plum out of luck and fatherless.
His mother goes into the house to make him something to eat (and he was so cute when he said it had to be something low in calories because he is watching his figure) when he spies our not so stealthy stalker looking with her periscope over his wall. He goes and confronts her (just looking slightly puzzled and not to concerned) and tells her to leave after she stammers shyly. But not before he has her leave the big container of ribs. HEHEHE cracks me up.
Our cutie girl continues her stalking at school where she gazes, along with every other girl in his class (including his teacher), at our pretty boy. He just stares out the window oblivious, or at least pretending to be, to all the attention he is getting. He starts to drink out of a water bottle and Bo Tong wishes she was the water bottle he had his mouth on. LOL our cutie girl has a bit of a naughty streak in her.
Fast forward 10 years in the future and Bo Tong is still harboring a huge unrequited crush on Mattei. She is busy creating wallpapers for her brother computer of her Mattei (He for some reason has a ton of posters with his photo on them so I am assuming he became a model or something, although it never really says) and feeling sexual about everything that she comes across. And I do mean everything, from the arm muscles and neck of the butcher, to the chickens laid out at the supermarket. But most of all she fantasizes about Mattei and swimming in his.......... collarbone. LOL. This girl is seriously full of hormones.
She even has continued to stay close to his mother and take her ribs just on the off chance she will hear some news about her son. But it seems that our pretty mother has a secret she is keeping from everyone.
She begins saying her goodbye's to her son even going so far as to organize her portrait for her funeral. And in her last days she ask Bo Tong to travel with her to Seoul where they visit a rich mysterious Ahjussi. (hmmmmmm just taking a shot in the dark that this might be our pretty boy's daddy). She then sits Bo Tong down and asks her to please always be there for Mattei since he will need someone on his side in the future. Oblivious to the "I am about to die" undertones in the conversation our Cutie girl just happily agrees.
While all this is going down Mattei is in Seoul living the high life. His girlfriend buys him his very own deluxe condo and car. I would feel bad for her except for the fact that he is pretty clear about the situation. When she asks what he likes best about her since she is only pretty because of cosmetic surgery, he answers with a smile "Your money, since money is always the most beautiful". And surprisingly this just seems to make her happy since she says she is glad she has a lot of it to make him stay.
She is completely reassured and hands him the keys to his brand new car. And we finally see some true emotion from him because he LOVVVVVEEEEEESSSSSSS his new car. You don't really realize how little emotion he had with his dealings with his girlfriend until you compare his obvious feelings about his new baby.
He drives off all smiles and calls his mother to let her know that he is doing well and will soon have a house for them to live in. I feel so bad for him because he is such a momma's boy and little does he know things are not going to work out for him.
Back at Bo Tong's house we see her and her mother exercising (kind of) in the attempt to lose weight. Upon finding out that her mother used to be super skinny our Cutie heroine looks at her mother and then back at her own body. You can practically see the little wheels turning on in her brain about how that is going to be her future body unless she does something ASAP. Her solution is to wrap herself in saran wrap and create the S Shape body she wants. With the help of her brother she successfully turns herself into a Bo Tong saran wrap mummy just when the hospital calls telling them of the collapse of Pretty Mommy.
Rushing to the hospital (Saran Wrap and all) they arrive to find pretty mommy obviously on her last legs. Bo Tong takes her phone and attempts to call Mattei so he can come to the hospital ASAP. But Mattei is busy having a serious conversation with his other stalker. This one much more sinister and mysterious then our crazy girl. Enter Hong Yoo Ra who has been stalking Mattei for several years. She always randomly shows up staring at him in coffee shops or in the car next to his on the highway. He originally thought she was just interested in him for his good looks but it became obvious that she was not interested in that way and just randomly stalked him for no reason he could discern. He finally cornered her in a parking lot demanding to know why she was interested in him, but instead of telling him she just listed off a lot of very personal data about his life and that of his moms. It is at this point that he gets the call about his mother and in his drunken state he is not able to drive so he accepts a ride from Yoo Ra.
Can I just tell you how kind of creeped out I am by this character. Throughout the episode I randomly called her an evil succubus, scary lady, wicked witch, and devourer of all good. But for ease we are going to just continue to call her the wicked witch because she is definitely not up to any good.
At the hospital Mattei arrives and is devastated to find out that his mother had been lying to him and had terminal cancer. He cries at her bedside (Wicked Witch standing off in the doorway) and when he leaves for just a second to take a phone call the Wicked Witch steps forward. The Wicked Witch smirks at mother and tells her that it took forever for her to find them and that they should have continued to run away............... WHAT THE HECK????? WHO IS THIS EVIL WOMAN?............ This upsets pretty mother so much that she just dies.
Mattei is beyond despair and all through the funeral and afterwords blames himself for not being able to take care of her. I truly love how the humanize his character through this part. It makes him seem so much more of a human being and less of a one dimensional manhwa character. I personally was not expecting this much angst and depth in the show. Nor the great mystery surrounding his birth and the emergence of the evil Wicked Witch.
Our first episode ends with Mattei sitting outside his old house (the one he shared with his mother) and the wicked witch enters carrying flowers. He tells her that she should leave because right now he does not really care why she is stalking him. But he is shocked when she tells him he better start caring since only she knows the "code word" that he is so interested in and that now he is all hers.
So far I am really enjoying this drama. I love the quirky characters and that includes the side characters like the mother and brother. The two main leads are very entertaining and seem to actually have some good chemistry. Jang Keun Suk is really bringing his character to life and making a pretty man have more to him then just his looks or his ambition. I loved the love he had for his mother and the true anguish he felt at her death. I also like/hate the villainess in the drama. I am interested to find out who she actually is and what plans she has for our poor anti-hero. Also how is our crazy girl going to become a staple in his life since it seems as if their connection should be split now that his mother is dead.
Also kudos to the director on bringing the Manhwa to life with the vibrant colors in the sets and wardrobe. I love the quirky cute bag lady look on IU and the pops of color in JKS's suits. It really makes the drama look fresh and fun which is always a plus. I am so excited to get my first episodes blog post done because that means I can move one to the next episode. It has been so hard not watching it as soon as it was subbed this afternoon. I hope everyone enjoys this drama as much as I have and I will talk to you again soon about episode 2.