Following ripgal’s My Fair Lady’s First Impression, I want to do a little bit of a review of Lady Castle thus far. First of all, this drama goes by a bunch of names, similar to the case of the Kim Ahjoong/Hwang Jungmin’s drama Just Looking. Lady Castle, My Fair Lady, Take Care of The Lady, Take Care of Agasshi, it’s enough to confuse people. Personally, I like Lady Castle better so I’m going to refer to this drama mostly with Lady Castle.
I wanted to do a little write up last week, but last week episodes were rather weak that I decided to wait another week, to see if things would get better in episodes 3 and 4. It did and it didn’t.
Like a lot of people, I think I set my expectation too high. All the main leads graduated from great dramas, 3 of them this year alone, and Yoon Eunhye back in 2007, so it seemed natural that as a viewer, I expected to see good things. Coffee Prince, Brilliant Legacy, and Iljimae Returns are among my favourite Korean dramas, and while Queen of Housewives didn’t quite make it into my Favourite list, it is one of the most enjoyable dramas of 2009. Having seen what Yoon Eunhye, Yoon Sanghyun, Moon Chaewon, and Jung Ilwoo are capable of, Lady Castle became my most anticipated drama. I literally counted down to the day it aired and immediately watched the first episode within hours of its broadcast.
It was with a heavy heart that I lowered my expectation by a lot.
I didn’t really notice the way Yoon Eunhye speaking in the first episode, I thought she was doing okay, a little awkward, but passable. But now, after 4, I thought to myself “Was she always like this?” I didn’t really notice it when I was watching Goong and Coffee Prince (granted, a while ago) but now that I am watching Lady Castle, it is painfully apparent. Sometimes she talks as if her tongue is growing inside her mouth, most notably in the scenes where she has to speak slowly. And that IS distracting because when Kang Hyena is talking slowly, she is supposed to infuse her character with grace and sometimes arrogance, but now all I could concentrate is the weird way she speaks.
To be fair, I think Yoon Eunhye does fantastic job when it comes to a slightly more somber moments. I think she is one of the best crier in the business because she can really make a crying scene more than just a simple teary moment. Whenever she cries, she actually looks pained and hurt, she really embodies the character and the feeling at that moment. This is something I noticed since her Goong days. She might be lacking in a lot of other areas, but her crying scenes are always something to remember. I still remember that scene where Eunchan of Coffee Prince cries in the bus, such a great scene.
I am still patiently waiting to see if Yoon Eunhye will be able to step it up and exceed her Eunchan. For now, it looks like her improvement in Coffee Prince was just because she was under the wing of a great director. Hopefully by the end of the drama, I can say that Kang Hyena is Yoon Eunhye’s best interpretation just yet.
Yoon Sanghyun is great to me. I am willing to cut some slack for his overacting here and there because he is truly entertaining. I also feel for him because it seems that because he is a lot older than the rest of the main cast, he isn’t getting as much love when in fact he seems to be the one working the hardest and in all honesty, he’s walking around carrying this drama in his shoulder. He has a lot of charisma and that special something in his acting that I think one can only get by getting older and more mature. True, we are supposed to root for the main lead, but Yoon Sanghyun is one of the main reasons why I majorly root for Dongchan. And that’s with cutie Jung Ilwoo in the 2nd lead!! That’s saying a lot.
Now Jung Ilwoo as the chaebol son turned lawyer. The level of acting demanded of him will never amount to what Iljimae Returns asked for. And I accepted and respected that Jung Ilwoo probably wanted to take a breather after that intense but rating failure of a drama, and that was why he took on this drama, a modern mainstream romcom. But in all honesty, he is the one that I feel is most wasted here because this acting job really does nothing for him. Of course, I enjoy seeing him all smiles and pretty, but I was disappointed to see that his character and his acting is not being utilized and challenged to its fullest.
Lee Taeyoon, his character, has not been able to lift himself up above being an eye candy. He’s the usual prince charming perfect guy, tall and handsome but also kind with high integrity. An heir of a rich family but chose to work himself and live the ‘commoner way’. Beneath, I detect something ‘asshole-ish’ about his character and while my first impression was that I liked it because it made things more interesting, but now I am not so sure now. Hitherto, Lee Taeyoon has not been able to evoke much sympathy more than because he is played by Jung Ilwoo. As a comparison, remember Park Junse (Bae Soobin) from Brilliant Legacy? Look how HE was able to make a lot of people root for him. So far, Lee Taeyoon is just…meh.
Moon Chaewon is my goddess!! Gosh, I love this girl. Frankly, if her character Euijoo had more screentime and more significance in the story, I am pretty sure she would overshadow Yoon Eunhye just like she stole the show from Han Hyojoo in Brilliant Legacy. I AM SURE. The few scenes Euijoo has have been nothing short of wonderful. I perk up whenever Euijoo is on because she’s a ball of fun.
Moon Chaewon gives a lot of spunk and energy to Euijoo but the amazing thing is, she does it without having to go overboard with the acting. You know you can spot an overacting easily when you’ve seen it a lot, but Euijoo is lovely and bright because Moon Chaewon is so. Just like she threw herself in completely to portray Seungmi, her Euijoo feels natural. It doesn’t feel like acting anymore. For such a young and green actress like her, this is a big achievement. I really wish she can have more screentime in the future. Actually, I am rooting for Euijoo and Taeyoon to get together. Why? Because Moon Chaewon and Jung Ilwoo look great together, that’s why! They have had 2 scenes together so far, but oh my lordy, chemistry is flying all over the place!
The script itself has a lot of logic holes and it’s usually in the smaller details rather than in the grand scheme. You know when things play out, but you just don’t think they make sense. There’s that element of ridiculousness in Lady Castle here. But because they are the less significant things, I feel too nitpicky for mentioning them. An example would be right off the bat, how can Kang Hyena, THE richest and most fabulous heiress in Korea, go around without an arm of bodyguards? Even when later she has Dongchan as her private assistant, how come she only has one?? How come she can go around by bus without any supervision? THAT truly doesn’t make sense to me.
Another one: Kang Hyena is shown to be a master of Kendo, she’s physically tough and has a wee bit of a violent tendency in her. But then in episode 3, she is suddenly a damsel in distress, reduced to a weak lady screaming for her life. Come on! I really wish the scriptwriters (and directors for making the script come to life) pay more attention to these details and not take the easy ways to deliver the story. I think viewers would appreciate a little more thoughtfulness and subtleties when it comes to storytelling.
Last, I will say it straight. I fucking hate the music. The songs are quite catchy on their own, but not when they translate into becoming a background music for a drama. The overall feelings that the music gives are cheap and tacky. I hate thatDavichi (apparently) song they always play at the end, I hate that song sung by Yoon Eunhye (gosh, she really can’t sing), and while I don’t mind Yoon Sanghyun’s song, it often just doesn’t go with the scene. The instrumental score is also nothing impressive at all. I think if they want to come across legitimate, pay more attention to the songs.
I think if things don’t change, Lady Castle or My Fair Lady will fall somewhere in the realm of Boys Over Flowers (and god, I hate to think that), only with better acting. It will be highly entertaining and perhaps fun to watch if you can check your brain at the door. But you know that quality wise, it’s a total fail.