May Romcom Madness came along, but not surprisingly, only a couple of dramas managed to suck me in and kept me there. Romance Town and Can You Hear My Heart.
I followed Miss Ripley, Babyfaced Beauty and particularly The Greatest Love for a while, but ended up dropping them as usual. As for Miss Ripley, I enjoyed the first two episodes immesely, but for some reason, I’m just finding no motivation whatsoever to continue watching. Babyfaced Beauty was cute, with a great underdog story, but I started losing interest with the familiar four way relationships and the somewhat contrived characters. Whereas The Greatest Love was a lot of fun, but like Gumiho Girlfriend, the setup feels too familiar and while Hong Sisters continue to be funny, I don’t appreciate them recycling their narrative structure. I think I’m over the duo writers anyway.
Now, for the dramas I’m actually loving!
Romance Town is a quaint little drama. You don’t really know where it’s going because there’s no blunt structure to it. It just kinda flows with the day to day activities these people are going through. Not necessarily can it be categorized as a slice of life drama, but unlike 49 Days which is tightly plotted and executed, this drama is more easy going and affable. A couple of plot development I wasn’t particularly in love with, but I’m glad to see things moving on from it and getting better.
Jung Kyeowoon and Sung Yuri are turning on the charms! If I thought Jung and Kim Soyeon were awesome in Dr. Champ, Jung manages to outdo the chemistry with Sung. They continue to be so damn cute and it’s got me giggling too much!
Remember last year’s Pasta? The style is similar, and while it did not work for Pasta (imo), it works in Romance Town only because the overall lineup of actors are stronger. The smaller characters are played by better actors, which not only makes the entire drama a lot more watchable, their inter relationships become more appealing as well. I remember sighing in annoyance everytime the drama turns to the supporting roles, but here, I’m actually looking forward to seeing EVERY lines being drawn and connected. Which is always a good sign.
On the other hand, Can You Hear My Heart is exactly the opposite of Romance Town. It’s got a more traditionally concocted formula of melodrama but rests on the backbone of strong, solid writing. The drama is palpable, the plot is tight. There’s NO makjang element here. Everything has been laid out in the first six episodes, and the remaining 24 is merely the consequences of everything that’s happened. So why is it so good?
First of all, the drama has a slow build up. So you do have to go through several episodes that put you through sleep. But that’s precisely why the drama is amazing. Because the foundation is laid out so carefully and meticulously, so there’s no forehead creasing accompanied with the question of “Where did that come from?” I think it is an amazing feat, actually, that a drama which lays its card early on not only can keep viewers’ interests, but also manage to keep and heighten them as episodes wear on.
One breakout from Can You Hear My Heart is certainly Namgoong Min. He’s like the Erik Lensherr, or the Anakin Skywalker of the drama, so to speak. Everything is connected pretty much through his Bong Maroo/Jang Joonha character. Now, Namgoong is not the best actor, but he totally makes up for it with his overflowing charisma. I sound like a Korean media, but that is the truest fact. He is able to show that kind confidence and affection a la the typical Daddy Long Legs character yet he turns on loneliness, vengeance, and fear of abandonment at the click of the fingers. Not only that, this guy is a chemistry machine! Literally, he has great chemistry with people from all directions and it is one of the factors to how well he works Bong Maroo.
The May Romcom Madness did not end up as a defining moment in K-Drama landscape, but it did bring 2 great offerings which definitely will be my favourites this year. The others, such as Babyfaced Beauty and The Greatest Love will be fond memories despite my dropping out of them, while others such as Lie To Me and Manny will incite eyerolls and puking noises.
2011 started out pessimistic on my part, with Once Upon a Saengchori and My Princess grudgingly highlighting the dry first quarter of the year. But it is certainly warming up with the explosive 49 Days, and now Romance Town and Can You Hear My Heart. 2011 is almost halfway over and I am glad to see this year turning out to be a pretty fun year!
Next on the list: Lee Minho in the already airing City Hunter, Eric Moon and Han Yeseul on Myungwol The Spy, Moon Chaewon in The Princess’s Man, Jin Yihan and Lee Boyoung on Hooray For Love, and Choi Kang Hee’s The Last Secretary. Let this be a great year for drama watching!!