Current Events, part 5

This week saw the premiere of the dramas Mary Stayed Out All Night and Secret Garden. Mary is apparently adapted from a manhwa of the same author as Full House, whereas Secret Garden is yet another drama written by Kim Eunsook, whose past dramas have been uber popular, like City Hall, On Air, and the Lovers series.

Personally, I am a fan of the Full House manhwa, in addition to the drama. I followed the manhwa when it first came out in my country and even after moving overseas, whenever I went back home, a trip to the local bookstore, dedicated for Full House manhwa, was a must. It’s not a particularly good manhwa, but for some reason I was just so into it.

Whereas, I remember totally hating on City Hall and On Air. I finished Lovers and loved it then, but after coming back down from the high, it was like ‘WTF was I thinking?’ I have a problem with how pretentious and stuck up her characters are (plus, why are they always RICH?!!) and how pliant the women tend to be in the presence of the men. It’s so insulting. But anyways, so those were my feelings going into the dramas, respectively.

Casts – Mary stars some hot young stars like Moon Geunyoung, Jang “Queen” Geunsuk, and everyone’s favourite waffle dude, Kim Jaewook. On the other hand, Secret Garden carries bigger and more mature stars: Ha Jiwon, Hyun Bin, and Yoon Sanghyun. You can also easily see the target audience from the casting. Where Mary hopes to gain the younger viewers, Garden is geared for wider audience. Although to be fair, Kim Eunsook tends to write for more mature viewers anyway.

General Premise – Between TWO contract marriages and body SWAP, I don’t know which one is more preposterous, really. I admit to doing lots of eye rolling when reading about these two dramas. Aren’t we done with contract marriage storyline? Now we’re having TWO contract marriages in one drama? Bravo. And bodyswap can be fun a la Freaky Friday, but romantic plot out of body swap is all kinds of pervy, don’t you think?

Fashion – This is just for fun, but man, it’s the war of weird hair (Yoon Sanghyun and Philip Lee are contenders from Garden while Moon Geunyoung and Queen Jang represent Mary) and crazy fashion. BTW, it’s SO much fun to look at Queen Jang and Yoon Sanghyun’s style in their respective dramas!

Female Leads – I usually love Moon Geunyoung, but I’m not too fond of her character Mary this time around. It’s a curious thing because her unassuming naivete is what was so great about her in My Little Bride, yet it feels forced and a little fake in Mary. I found myself getting annoyed more often than empathizing with her. Ha Jiwon, it’s been SO long since I last saw her. She’s an actress that has such a commanding screen presence, like a younger version of Kim Hyesoo. I love her tough, boyish image, but I can see her character has a tendency to melt into a puddle of mush at the attention of a male. And I detest the latter simply because Kim Eunsook tends to overdo that element; it often makes me want to slap the female leads.

Male Leads – Good thing the male leads are awesomely fun characters. This wouldn’t have been so special had my expectation been skewed this way. But I expected typical, cool, snippy male leads, so both Jang Geunsuk and Hyun Bin exceded my expectation. Jang Geunsuk is a carefree character in Mary, one who gets drunk in the middle of the day and pinches girls’ cheeks as he pleases. If only producer didn’t give him such a laughable song to sing, I would have really bought him as an indie singer. Hyun Bin’s character is a hoot, when they’re not trying to push the cool factor down his throat. I love that they make him walk around in shiny tracksuit and defending its worth by the amount of cash he paid for the thing. He’s also fun because he seems to genuinely have some loose screws in the head, as in he’s a little bit of a nut. His ‘going crazy’ is a recurring theme, as is the shiny tracksuit, as you can see, heh.

Supporting Leads – I suspected Kim Jaewook would end up being the boring character, and so far I’m right. What a waste. Kim Hyojin barely had any screentime in the first episodes, so I can’t comment much, but she seems thorny and a badass. Already Yoon Sanghyun sports some really interesting hairdo and I just realize that he has a tendency to yell his lines no matter what character he plays. But he’s funny as ever. Kim Sarang’s character is the girl you LOVE to hate. Oh it’s gonna be so much fun seeing her stuck up face mushed up in a pile of poo. Damn, writer should include such scene!!

Anyways, after watching the first two episodes of these dramas, I think I’m more inclined toward Secret Garden as a guilty pleasure. I know I’m supposed to hate it and maybe I will, 15 episodes down the road or something, but for now, I can’t help it but laugh and be totally entertained by it. Both Mary and Garden have lots of eyerolling moment, and suffer some directing issues, so I’m on the fence whether I’m going to stick around until the end or not. But Garden holds an edge because it has more exciting character. They are coming out bold and catch your full attention, whereas Mary’s only manage to be halfhearted.

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5 responses to “Current Events, part 5

  1. Hei you changed your blog settings chinggu! Reminds me of how long I haven’t blogged…and how long I haven’t been reading T_T

    Mary 1 was boring in the first half, a lil bit more interesting in the 2nd half. Actors are okay, but I didn’t see any chemistry between the 2 Geuns, is it only me? Premise, blerh. OST was the best.

    Can’t wait to get my hands on SG.

  2. AHH! You have bitching Shi Yeon’s banner. Ever since “Coffee House”, I totally adore her. And woman, you’re really good at making these things. I can’t believe you just learn from googling. Why so talented? D:

    I watched the first ep of “Mary” and it’s not meshing well with me either. I never watch Moon’s acting before but read such high praises about her plus she seems like a genuinely good and lovely person, so I was looking forward to seeing her act. But like you, I found her to be a little bit overdone in the role as well. I like that her character is so far capable but then there are moments where she’s just so annoying like that yelling to herself that “it’s too loud!” at a rock concert before squatting down in the middle of the crowd..at a rock concert! WTH? I think it has to do with the writing of her character tho, so I’m hoping the writing and directing will get iron out soon b/c I really want to like this drama.

    Geunsuk’s totally fun in this drama but yeah, the bus song really ruin the whole gritty indie rep. Jaewook barely appear in the first ep for me to make judgement but man, his Japanese is so smexy!

    The set up for the marriage is so full of wtf-kery but I hope now that we got that preposterous plot device out of the way, we can focus on the characters’ building. I do like how the supposed two main leads are getting swimmingly along together already. Yeah, they bicker but they also click right off. It’s a refreshing change from the whole “I hate you but I will love you probably w/in the next ep” plot.

    And wow, long comment is long!

    • Haha, if you need a fanart for your fics, let me know.

      Also, spot on on the rock concert thing. That was so stupid and it made me want to kick her ass for being so annoying, lol. Mary was slightly better in episode 3, tho, she’s great when she’s not being a dolt.

  3. I’m starting on SG, no expectation whatsoever… do it because I adore HJW. She has the fashion sense that I wish I was born with. And I’m supporting Binnie cause he could have been just a pretty face actor, but he was able to rise above it…. Ah yes, he’s soooo cute.

  4. Although premise-wise both look like those “hang your brain on a rack and just enjoy the ride” types, but general consensus seems to favour SG more, anyhow I can’t wait to check out both.

    How lovely is Kim Jae Wook’s gradual transformation from his waffle days, dude looks so sharp and handsome these days! Sucking Jang Geun Seok’s manly force perhaps.

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