Monday, January 02, 2012

DRAMA RECAPS You’ve Fallen For Me: Episode 2

What this drama lacks in slickness, it makes up for in sweetness. I’m sentimental about youth angst dramas, because they’re what I grew up on, but they also feel like a throwback because of that. They’re like drama comfort food, like Mom’s cooking. And while the tonal shifts in this one are still a bit wonky, the overall mood is like I’m back in high school, watching my first campus drama Feelings all over again. Sigh. Good ol’ days.

EPISODE 2: “If Only That, My World”

Tensions flaring high, Shin throws back at her that he’s heard her play too, and repeats her gesture, pounding on his heart. “You didn’t move me, not even the tips of my fingers.” Not one to back down (which I love) Kyu-won counters that he knows nothing of gukak (classical Korean music), so he can just shut his trap.

He challenges her to a wager then, if she’s so confident: Rock Vs. Gukak, and the loser is a servant for a month. Oh lordy. Please kick his ass.

The second he leaves, Kyu-won demands for the girls to assemble, like a mobster. Heh. And before she knows it, word of the battle spreads across campus, and turns into an all-out war. (They made a rule to exclude singing—just instrumental, to make it fair.)

She runs into Seok-hyun again (literally forehead-to-chest), and he returns her sheet music from the other night. I love that she definitely considers him an ajusshi and he treats her kind of like a kid… and yet… I totally want these two to be together. Gah. I can’t help it. He’s so much more interesting than Shin at this stage in the game.

Drummer Jun-hee’s big crush Hee-joo comes by the band’s studio looking for Shin, and when he introduces himself as The Stupid’s drummer, she refuses to believe that Jumpsuit Junior and Hot Drummer are one and the same. Hee. Please let her fall for drummer boy not knowing that Clark Kent/Superman are the same, and then get promptly thrown off her high horse.

It turns out that Kyu-won’s still got a good relationship with Dad who’s teaching music down in the countryside, but it’s kind of a secret relationship, kept at bay from disapproving Grandpa. She clearly wishes she could see more of him, but Dad’s keeping his distance. Dad asks if this guy she’s going to battle is really all that good looking, and at first she makes a sour face and shakes her head, then, “Well… he’s a little pretty, kind of like a girl.” HA.

The lead-up to the battle grows bigger than either of them wanted, but it’s out of their hands now. People start posting signs, departments choose sides… I love that what’s at stake is month-long slavery, because no matter who wins, it works to the story’s advantage. And it doesn’t hurt that they hate each other.

They both work their bands to the bone, dissatisfied to just play their normal repertoire, and feeling the pressure to win.

Seok-hyun finds out that the Big Show he’ll be directing (the university’s 100th anniversary show) has his ex Yoon-su slated to be the dance choreographer. He heads to her studio and finds her just after another fall.

She hears someone walk in and immediately assumes it’s Shin, telling him not to come around anymore. But Seok-hyun walks in to tell her not to do the show—that her skills aren’t up to par and that she should avoid being pitied by others. Damn.

She disregards him, and he bursts out, “How am I supposed to do a show with you?!” Clearly this is about your unresolved feelings, mister. She refuses to back off, and he swears at her like she’s a dude, something like “son of a bitch” or “asshole,” which is unusual unless he was a teacher or a director of hers at some point. (Adult-to-adult it’s gender specific and harsh, but from teacher-to-student it’s more gender neutral and more like “you rotten kid.” Um… I dunno why. It just is, in colloquial usage.) If she used to be a dancer and he was her director, that would explain it. Either that or he swears weirdly.

Shin arrives just after Seok-hyun leaves, and watches Yoon-su sink to the ground and cry. I do love his puppy crush on her which makes him a much more interesting character, despite the fact that the ballerina is mostly a downer. I mean, if you spend the first two episodes crying, how am I supposed to think of you as anything other than a wet blanket?

Kyu-won makes the mistake of telling Grandpa about the battle, which turns him into General Pansori. He forces her to practice night and day, basically turning her into a gayageum zombie, because now she’s got the pride of all Korean music riding on her servant-bet.

Seok-hyun agrees to direct the Big Show, but plans to upend the whole thing because what they’ve got planned is “no fun.” Heh, I love his directness. His sunbae tells him that he does have to cast Hee-joo though, because she’s the university president’s daughter. He doesn’t seem too keen on that.

It turns out that Hee-joo has something in common with Jun-hee – she’s always hungry too, but while his is metabolism-fueled, hers is image-conscious bulimia. Sad. And worse is the truth that it’s all too common with dancers. She overhears that the new director might go in a different direction for the show, and hears him talking about Kyu-won and the battle. Time for some recon on her competition.

Jun-hee tells his bandmates about the gukak professor who died from cancer the night of the concert, and Shin realizes why Kyu-won was so testy with him that day. I hope you feel like a heel. I can’t tell, but I’m going to assume that you do.

It’s Battle Time. Awwwww, yeah. The entrances are awesome, all western duel at high noon. Shin straps on his guitar, Kyu-won wields her gayageum, and they approach each other like they’re slinging guns.

A crowd has gathered and Seok-hyun adorably cheers Kyu-won on like a big dork, which officially seals my love for him. Yoon-su takes note of his behavior with a hairy eyeball, and Kyu-won awkwardly waves back at the very strange ajusshi. Heh.

On stage, Shin starts to apologize for the other day, but she doesn’t let him get very far, assuming he’s just scared he’ll lose. The battle is on.

The Stupid takes to the stage first and they wow the crowd, making the Wildflowers nervous. Kyu-won vows to do gukak proud, and gets a big cheer from Grandpa too. They play what starts out as a very traditional mellow piece but becomes an impressive display of string-chops to a catchy beat.

They’ve got the crowd… they build to the climax… and then Kyu-won breaks a string, bringing the whole ensemble to a halt. While I appreciate that it’s a dramatic moment, I don’t need The! Drama! of it all to be hammered into my skull like I’m incapable of understanding the significance. Relaaaaaaax.

They lose, of course, but Jun-hee bounces up to them, “Unnis! You were awesome! I’ve never heard anything like that before. I think I totally love you.” So cute. Bo-woon offers to play for him everyday, and he perks up when she offers to buy him food. Please pick her over the starving ballerina. I bet you she’s such a bitch because she’s always hungry. I mean, don’t people know being hungry makes you cranky?

Bo-woon is amazed as she watches Jun-hee devour his food and ask for more, remembering his alter ego at school eating the same way. She shakes her head no – it can’t be the same guy. Ha.

I love that everyone is so disbelieving that he’s one and the same. He had explained to his bandmates that he can only afford a few nice clothes, which he wears for concerts as fanservice. Heh. Yeah, but that doesn’t explain the idol hair or the guyliner now, does it?

He eats so much that eventually he outspends her wallet output, and they have to call for help. Kyu-won arrives and pays the bill, and Shin arrives just behind her. Jun-hee calls her an angel and then he takes Bo-woon home, leaving her awkwardly with Shin on the sidewalk.

She admits that she lost today, and he offers that she was good, and if her string hadn’t broken, the outcome might’ve been different. She agrees, which I love. He apologizes for not keeping his promise at the concert and says that he’s sorry about her professor too.

She explains that she knows it’s not directly his fault, but the circumstances… and he cuts her off to say that he gets it, no biggie. He tells her the reason that he couldn’t make the concert, and she believes him right away, which is a relief. I love a drama where misunderstandings get cleared up quickly.

He says that he’ll use her slave services without too much burden or guilt (gee thanks) and then asks which way she’s headed… “So I can go the other way.” HAhahaha. You’re randomly a crack-up when you want to be.

At school she attempts to hide, hoping that if he can’t find her, he can’t enslave her. That works for about half a day, until he nabs her phone so that they can exchange numbers, to the tune of jealous girls everywhere. Hee.

Shin’s mom gets a request from his father to see his son once before he dies. So either Shin’s from a first marriage, or an illegitimate child, and either way Dad has no presence in his life, due to Mom’s insistence against it. He seems to be dying from The Rock, as in living a hardcore lonely life, and it makes Mom scared that Shin’s going to follow in Degenerate Dad’s footsteps.

She asks noncommittally if Shin can’t quit guitar, but doesn’t really offer the real reason why and takes it off the table. She looks through pictures of the old days, when Shin’s dad was in a band… with Kyu-won’s dad?

Oh, well that makes more sense, if Dad really did have a rocker phase. Because the whole “You want to play Mozart? Get out of my house!” thing was just kind of silly. So if Kyu-won’s dad was also living somewhat unconventionally, it would explain Grandpa’s insistence on raising her himself.

Sigh with the our-dads-were-in-a-band-together thing. At least they’re not siblings? Er? Right?

Kyu-won’s dad suggests that she let him see his son at least once, for Shin’s sake. Interesting that she keeps in touch with her dad, but not his. The next day she decides to take Shin to see his father, under the guise of getting a guitar lesson from someone who was once in a famous band. (Mom can get away with that as a cover because she works for a music rag, so she’d clearly have the connections to do so anyway.)

He calls Kyu-won to attend class for him so she can get him through roll call, but of course she gets caught red-handed. Whoops.

Mom waits in the car and he gives her a smile and walks in, but once he turns away from her, his face darkens. Omo! Is that… narrative information I’m reading on your face? By jove, it’s a freakin’ miracle!

His face reveals that he knows much more about what he’s about to walk into than he let on. He must’ve been curious about bio dad before this, though clearly Mom is in the dark about how much he knows. He steels himself before going inside.

Neither of them says anything revealing their relationship, and Dad asks him if he knows how to play. Shin plays a song that he wrote, and then Dad picks up his guitar and plays along. I love that this moment is beautifully underplayed, but quite touching because it’s so simple.

Dad tells him, “The guitar and me. That’s my entire world,” and asks if he’ll come again. Shin looks down to see his hand shaking.

He comes home that day and turns what they played together into a song, and performs it at the club. Kyu-won comes with Bo-woon and as he plays, her face goes from skeptical…to surprised… and then moved.

Aw, you did it—you played music that tugged at her heart.

Shin’s song (Untitled) [ Download ]


This drama lacks crispness in its cinematography, and it even feels a little like it was shot ten years ago. But I like the setup and the tone of the youth-melodrama. This is kind of what I wanted Mary Stayed Out All Night to be – an exploration of youth, music, indie vs. conformity, what adulthood means, etc. But that drama went to wackyville while this one seems like it’s the perfect answer to what I wanted, thematically.

And okay, I had pretty much written off Jung Yong-hwa as a cardboard box with a pretty face, and though he hasn’t TOTALLY changed my mind, I do see a glimmer of hope in his portrayal of Shin. He’s straining less, which is good, and I think that he’s doing a decent job playing the hot-and-cold guy, who is believably one character who’s nice at home and mean outside.

He’s still got miles and miles to go before I’m with him on the straight-up emoting, but this time I’m not actively seeing Black Hole instead of Actor. And he totally surprised me with his facial expressions that actually conveyed narrative information today. Yay for growth.

Song Chang-eui’s character Seok-hyun is the winner so far, because he’s interestingly written and brightly played, so it’s no wonder I’m totally falling for his cute interplay with Kyu-won. I think Park Shin-hye is best when she’s not trying to be cute (And I really fail to understand why cute is even an affectation for her, ’cause she just looks cute anyway, no effort needed).

So when she breaks into those moments of swearing at Shin (love) or sassing him around, I adore her. She’s incredibly easy to feel with, which is I think a lead actress’ main asset, because she pulls you into her emotional state. I’m actually hoping for more drama with her character, just to see her act well rather than rest on her cute laurels.

But the bickery hatred? I’m all about that. I hope they hate each other for at least half the run or more. Oh yeah.

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