Well, Secret Garden is all the rage these days, with the invention of Heavy Sexual Tension Sit Ups, Joowon Sparkly Tracksuits, and Joowon Ache. Everyone, every TV station, from Shin Bongsun to Kim Gabsoo have done a parody of the drama. I think the last time something became such a huge mainstream phenomenon was probably the Boys Over Flowers. Secret Garden didn’t pass 40% in ratings or anything, but thanks to the little things that stand out, it’s crossed over to the public at large.
This drama has literally propelled Hyun Bin to being THE guy of the moment. Hyun Bin is not a stranger to popularity of course, after being an overnight sensation with the drama My Name is Kim Samsoon. But his last few projects were garnering mediocre ratings even though they are critically praised. But with Secret Garden, Hyun Bin has successfully left his mark for the next two years he will be in the army.
For me, Secret Garden is a lot like Sungkyunkwan Scandal in a sense that it had so much potential. Both dramas promised something meaningful underlying the story, an ideal almost. Yet along the way we find out that it’s mostly bogus. Secret Garden had such a fascinating premise, body swap between a poor girl and a rich guy. They are drawn to each other but both stick with their own principle. The rich would never associate with the poor and the poor would never dirty herself by playing with the rich asshole.
For the first several weeks, I ended every episode with an excited ‘Oh My God!’. Despite not caring as much for the supporting characters, the drama had enough going on with the main couple that they alone keep me glued to the screen. As the episodes grew, I started disliking even the main characters. I find Ha Jiwon’s Raim to be so conveniently writtern. She’s the worst case of character inconsistencies. She’s supposed to be a tough stunt woman and has repeatedly demonstrated so, so how can we believe that Joowon drags her by the wrist while she struggles? I’m nitpicking, but such scenes were frequent enough that I can’t help but take notice. Raim is supposed to be gutsy, but when the story dictates, she’s so meek to people that I just can’t connect these contrasting personality to one person.
Whereas Hyun Bin’s Joowon? He’s just an asshole. Pure and simple. That’s why I don’t get this Joowon frenzy that is going on in Korea because I think the guy is inherently a big ol’ jerk. The Guhro frenzy was understandable because dude was freaking awesome, but Joowon? He doesn’t change. From the beginning he does whatever he wants without regards to people’s feelings. And really, he stayed that way till the end. His change only extends with respect to Raim, whom he loves. And really, he only changed because he found out he is literally indebted to Raim (‘s dad).
Near the end, it seems like Writer Kim was lost and just pretty much pulled everything out of her ass.The solution to Raim being brain dead was hilarious. Everything was literally solved in one or two episodes without us being given an explanation or a hint as to how things got solved. By then, I had lost all excitement for the drama and was just watching to see how the mess got tied.
The non-existant and overly convenient Body Swaps were really disappointing. What triggers the body swap? How can they come back during the rain? WHAT IS THE EXPLANATION? True, I didn’t expect to see them swapped for 10 out of 16 episodes, but I think that body swap should have been used to enhance character development, not merely as convenient plot device. Overall,6.5 out of 10.
Fugitive Plan B has always been a simple drama with spiffy coreography, expensive fashion, and pretty tourism ads. So I didn’t expect the ending to be, you know, meaningful or deep. But I did expect the ending to be satisfying not just in the sense that I want happy ending, but also an ending that is as spiffy as cool and as cocky as the drama had been.
In short, I did not expect everything to be solved just by Jini crashing the press conference to reveal the gold and the evil dude to the world. Why? Because how are you to believe that evil dude(s), who’s killed so many people, won’t have her trailed and killed BEFORE she got to fuck up the press con. That’s just so unbelievable. Considering how many minions the evil dude(s) has. So I was a little deflated that they went out with such simplistic ending.
Plus, how can you kill off one half of my favourite couple??? Seriously, that’s just unforgivable. I DID sort of predict that my couple wouldn’t get their happy ending, but damnit, they just had to kill one of them. I no like!!
In general though, I like Fugitive Plan B as that check your mind at the door and enjoy the show. I don’t watch it the moment it comes out, I don’t follow its news, I wait for it to be subbed. Which is actually critical for me. If you can get me to watch you right away on the day you air, then you’ve got me invested. If not invested, then at least curious. It means you’re never gonna be as memorable as some other dramas, even though I do recognize you are better than some of those other dramas. So the fact that I’m not as into the drama does not take the enjoyment I get from watching it. So, Fugitive Plan B, overall 6 out of 10.