Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pinocchio Episode 1 - Quiz Shows, Bad Wigs, and Quirky Characters - I love it!

The Crazy Ahjummas are back to recapping!!!  Did you miss us?  Sorry for the hiatus but we put some serious thought into picking out the next drama for our co-cap.  Heaven knows we want to enjoy it more than "My Secret Hotel" and we both have to be interested in not only watching, but also blogging about the show.  Needless to say this eliminated a lot of dramas. So with much thought/discussion we decided upon the new Lee Jong Suk/Park Shin Hye drama "Pinocchio".  Luckily our patience proved fruitful since we both loved the first episode of the drama (but more about that later).

For those of you just discovering our awesome blog, I am Kmuse, one of the two main bloggers in The Crazy Ahjummas.  I am a mother of three and an avid kdrama watcher, in that I love to watch literally everything.  There are very few currently airing dramas that I am not watching so if you have any questions about them (or really any drama since I have seen an insane amount) feel free to ask me in the comments.  Or better yet come like our facebook page and ask me there. For those of you who have not read my past recaps, I am one of those bloggers that really likes to just discuss my opinions on certain scenes or concepts of the drama.  We don't go step by step through the whole thing.  So if you are looking for a more complete recap you might have to look elsewhere (and then come back and read ours of course).
So you might be asking how does one "Co-recap" a drama? OK, you probably are not asking that, but I will explain anyway.  Since my awesome co-blogger Dongsaeng is insanely busy with real life, she is not able to recap a drama by herself so we decided that if we split the recaps then she would be able to continue blogging (which is one of her favorite things), and hence the CO-Cap was created.  Our first attempt was for "My Secret Hotel", and while neither of us loved the drama, we did discover that it was a lot of fun doing alternate episodes.  Especially since we are two very different kdrama viewers so instead of a boring recap, it turned more into a fun debate of ideas.  Hopefully that will continue onward so if you find yourself disagreeing with one of our takes on the drama, be sure to check back the following day since there is a good chance you might find yourself clicking with the other Ahjumma. 

So without further introduction let's jump into discussing episode 1!  Like I stated in my intro, I am not a blogger that really enjoys writing a step by step recap, just isn't my style. Instead I like to experiment with different formats and try to find one that fits the drama I am recapping.  This time I decided to take a page from my co-blogger Dongsaeng, and go with a numbered/countdown format, which means that I will be sharing my 7 favorite scenes, moments, concepts, every Wednesday.  Why 7?  No specific reason, other than it is higher than 5 but smaller than 10 and its a nice odd number for an odd drama.  So in no specific order, here are the 7 best things about Episode 1.

#1 Lee Jong Suk as Choi Dal Po
I am one of those people that loves watching Lee Jong Suk do what he does best, which is play a character that is cheeky as heck with an intelligent core layered in trauma.  He is reuniting with the writer/director duo responsible for his big breakthrough drama "I Hear Your Voice" and you can definitely feel a similar vibe.  But since I loved that drama, I am completely OK with this.
Choi Dal Po is the mysterious adopted son of an elderly fisherman and is known for being the least intelligent boy in his class (and possibly the whole island).  His nickname is All Zero because he literally gets zero on all his tests.  Surprisingly he is on a televised quiz show against the first ranked boy in his class (the producer was under the impression he was ranked 34 out of 300, unaware he is the class idiot).  With truly horrible hair (possibly the worst I have ever seen in a drama), Dal Po continues to ooze charisma and his over the top cheesy intro for the quiz program is epic.  Also epic is everyone's reaction to his being a contestant which go from stark amazement to 2nd hand embarrassment for his cheesy bumpkinness.  As we watch we see an intelligent self confidence that belies his idiot reputation.  I can already tell that I am going to love his character.
#2 Slumdog Millionaire Inspired Intro.
One of my all time favorite movies is the Indian film "Slumdog Millionaire" so I was very interested to see an opening scene that had a similar storyline to that movie (if you have not yet seen it, I would highly suggest it.  A truly amazing bit of storytelling).  It also the perfect intro to set up
Choi Dal Po's character both past and present.  My favorite bit was when he confidently wasted his lifeline to challenge his classmate (#1 ranked boy) to a slap off, if he answered the question correctly.  
#3 Park Shin Hye as Choi In-Ha
Every single time I finish a Park Shin Hye drama I vow that I will never again put myself through it.  Through the pain of watching her play yet another blank candy type character.  The introvert that is pulled out of her shell by a hot powerful boyfriend.  Watching her do bad kiss after bad kiss.  I have come to declare Park Shin Hye as the drama equivalent of child birth.  You vow never again, but memories fade, a person is blinded by the bright and shiny new trailers, not to mention the endless supply of khottie costars, and before you know it you are sucked into another of her dramas.  
This time is no different except I am going into it with NO expectations of a good kiss.  In my mind, I would be totally happy to have them throw in some Lee Jong Suk brooding shower scenes and skip the kissing all together.  If you go in with no positive expectations then you can't be disappointed with sour fish kisses. RIGHT????
On an up note, for once she is playing against her norm.  Instead of the quirky introvert her character Choi In Ha is an outspoken abrasive diva known by the nickname "blabber mouth witch".  This is because of the Pinocchio disease (completely fictional) that she suffers from.  Anytime In Ha tries to lie she involuntarily bursts into hiccups.  Instead of retreating into herself (thanks goodness since that is every other character Park Shin Hye has ever played) In Ha always speaks the blunt truth no matter how rude it makes her.  So in other word this gives us a heroine that literally cannot lie and a hero who's whole life is a lie.  Everything you need for an epic fated romance
#4 Hottie Hyung (aka - Ki Jae Myeong)
Dal Po is not the only secret genius in this drama.  He has a super hot older brother Jae Myeong who is wondering about working menial jobs while hiding his mensa level intelligence from the world.  I also suspect from the last scene, that Hottie Hyung is vowing revenge against the reporter whom he blames for the destruction of his family (which just happens to be our leading ladies mom).  Due to some misunderstandings Dal Po is under the impression that his hyung deserted his after their father's death, while Jae Myeong thinks his little brother is dead.  I foresee some great reuniting of the brothers in our future.
#5 Backdraft Korean Style
Every drama needs a back story of deep despair.  This one is no different, if anything it takes the despair level up a notch, as we see the death of Dal Po's father (chief firefighter) as well as nine of his men in a warehouse fire, and the after effects which destroy Dal Po's family.  Kudos on the director for going all out with the special effects.  I was highly impressed at the quality of the scenes.
#6 A Family's Despair
I really feel for Dal Po's family, the horror of finding out that your husband has been killed while fighting a fire is tragic.  But then due to lies, misinformation, and the greed of a few journalists, they are brutally tormented and blamed for this tragic accident.  
The climax of the mother committing suicide with her youngest son (who thankfully survives by the grace of god and takes on the persona of Dal Po) was heartrending.  It will be awhile before I can look at a firework display without thinking of this scene. 
#7 A New Start
Alone and without a family, the boy who is now known as Dal Po, is fished from the sea by a kind grandfather suffering from the early stages of dementia.  Thinking this is his first born son spit back from his death at sea, the grandfather officially adopts him and raises him as Dal Po.  
It is by this odd situation that Dal Po finds himself the "uncle" of our leading lady Choi In Ha (a very cute twist that makes me laugh).  In Ha is also starting a new stage in her life as she accompanies her father to his childhood island in order to look after his elderly father after a bitter divorce.  In Ha's mother (a total carnivorousness she-witch of epic proportion) is coincidentally the very reporter who over-sensationalized the incident that destroyed Dal Po's family.  This causes Dal Po to distance himself from In Ha and sets us up for the episode 2.  
Just a quick note that both child actors did an amazing job and I will watch out for their future work. Very talented young individuals.

My Thoughts:
Episode 1 pushed a lot of information into a very short time. However, through the great acting and creative storytelling of the writers, they were able to pull it off with ease.  I really enjoyed all the casting so far.  Every character (even several of the students, the teacher, the reporters, etc) were memorable and of course both of our leads and Hottie Hyung stood out with ease.  It indicates a good drama when we are able to find out so much about so many characters without the writers having to verbally list every detail.  I think that we will be able to really confirm this dramas potential when we are able to see our OTP (One True Pairing) interact in episode 2.  While I am feeling very confident with the script (these writers are my 2nd favorite writing team after all), Park Shin Hye has a tendency to be hit or miss when it comes to chemistry.  So this means that everyone start constructing their kdrama god shrines and praying that she can pull off this role.  Be sure to pray for the chemistry and forget the whole kissing aspect.  You can't expect miracles after all.


  1. Haha. I feel your pain with the PSH Kiss of Death Syndrome. She's been paired with so many good kissers and yet she still looks like she's in pain. Yet, here I am, watching another drama with her in it. Luved the LJS pose-off for the quiz show. I'm optimistic about this show.

    1. So far I like her chemistry with LJS better then any of her other costars. He brings out her strengths acting wise (or at least it seems like he does). Enjoying the mesh and just ignoring the possibility of a kiss of death.


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