Ha Ni’s Happily Ever After

I honestly don’t know what it is about Playful Kiss that made it so utterly enjoyable for me to watch. Was it the fact that it seems so very realistic and simple that it could very well occur to real people? Or was it the steady determination of Ha Ni’s love for Seung Jo that made me root for a happy ending for her? Whatever the reason is, I absolutely loved watching her win the heart of the guy for whom she harbored an unrequited love for four years, and the fact that that very love was what led him to love her back was indicative of both the characters’ personalities. I think that was the best thing about PK, how tangible the actors made their characters’ personalities (or was it thanks to the writer?), and there was not one character I didn’t root for by the end. The second leads were both adorable, and I loved that they never crossed over into the crazy, obsessive kinds of second leads we usually have to deal with in almost every k-drama. Both Bong Joon Gu and Yoon Hae Ra knew that the love between Ha Ni and Seung Jo was real, so they gracefully backed off, despite their strong feelings for the two of them.

I absolutely adored Lee Tae Sung in the role of Bong Joon Gu. He could’ve very well come off as OTT to some people, but I thought he was perfect in both his comedic timing and dramatic beats, making the emotions that his character was feeling so incredibly real that all you wanted to do was give Joon Gu a hug and comfort him on Ha Ni’s behalf. Oh, was that just me? Well, more Joon Gu for me then. 😛 It’s hard to find anyone in real life who’s so devoted to the person they love, and the fact that they gave Joon Gu a (suggested?) happy ending left me satisfied, no matter how contrived it was. Joon Gu deserved someone who would see only him, and even though his story with Kris? Chris? Cris? was very rushed, I was glad that the writers dangled that carrot in front of us viewers knowing that we were hoping that Joon Gu would end up with someone by the drama’s end. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I totally thought that there could’ve been something between Dok Go Min Ah and Joon Gu. I remembered one scene when they were still in high school and the three friends were talking about unrequited love and when Joon Gu was brought up, the camera focused on Min Ah and she had a wistful look on her face. I could be totally off about the scene but I distinctly remember thinking that it was possible they shot the scene that way because Min Ah had been harboring a secret love for Joon Gu as Joon Gu loved Ha Ni who loved Seung Jo. I guess it’s better that they didn’t have the best friend of the girl Joon Gu was in love with fall for him because that would’ve been quite messy for the friendship.

As for Hae Ra, I think it’s realistic that the drama ended with her gradually reaching out to her tennis club sunbae because of the similarities between her and Seung Jo. The fact that the sunbae was always there for her when she really needed him mirrors how Ha Ni’s feelings for Seung Jo were unconditional, and so it would only make sense that Hae Ra would begin to warm up to Kyung Soo slowly but surely. I like that they didn’t show us anything concrete because it would definitely take time for Hae Ra to begin to develop feelings for Kyung Soo, but they included a hint of that possibility, which is good enough for me.

Ha Ni’s character did annoy me from time to time for reasons that girlfriday discussed during some of the PK recaps on the dramabeans site. It was as if Ha Ni couldn’t think of doing anything that wasn’t related to Seung Jo, which essentially meant she had no identity, no sense of purpose if Seung Jo wasn’t a part of her life. No matter how much a girl likes a guy, it’s crucial for her to be able to choose her major and career path in life for herself, not for him. What if Seung Jo turned out not to be the one who Ha Ni would end up with? What would’ve happened then? What would Ha Ni have done about school? Yes, I know it’s a drama and they did ultimately get married and begin their lives as Doctor Husband and Nurse Wife, but I did have my qualms about that aspect of Ha Ni’s personality. I’m all for devotion in love, but not so much so that one loses their unique identity in the process.

Aside from minor quibbles (and some major ones), I really enjoyed watching Playful Kiss. Jung So Min has proven herself to be quite the talented actress at such a young age, and I think we can expect great things from her down the line. Kim Hyun Joong has made an improvement since his Boys Before Flowers days, and I’m glad he took this opportunity to work on his acting because through PK I saw that there is potential there. Of course it’ll take a lot of effort and work on his part, but I think KHJ might possibly reach Choi Si Won‘s or Lee Seung Gi‘s level of talent if he keeps working at it. Yes, it’ll take a while, but anything’s possible if one has the determination and motivation to make it happen, right? 🙂

Not a Complete Home Run But I’ll Take It

So I’ve watched up to episode 5 of Playful Kiss so far because I’m helping Haru2 translate and fill spots, and I thought I’d dish a little of how I feel about it thus far.

First off, although the soon-to-be romance between Seung Jo and Ha Ni has started going in earnest, I’m still firmly parked in the Duckie/Bong Joon Gu camp and I intend to stay here until Kim Hyun Joong convinces me otherwise. Lee Tae Sung captured my heart within seconds of seeing him in his first scene as he bumbled around exuding bravado but immediately morphing into a giant marshmallow confection whenever Ha Ni was concerned. It’s the devoted in love types of guys that reduces me to a squealing fangirl, not cool, suave types like Baek Seung Jo. I’ve only seen Lee Tae Sung in the little-known Romance Zero that aired last year and I was pleasantly surprised to see how broad his range is acting-wise because his character in RZ was the complete opposite of his PK character. Jung So Min has been great as Oh Ha Ni, giving the character just the right amount of simplistic wisdom in the midst of all her naivety and good-natured eternal optimism. Ha Ni finds joy in the smallest things in life which is something I myself can relate to, so that endeared her character to me right from the get-go and continues to win me over with each episode.

I like that Ha Ni is able to speak up for herself in spite of her strong feelings for Seung Jo whenever Seung Jo acts haughty and mean towards her, because it shows that she has a backbone instead of being a shrinking violet. I know a guy who Seung Jo resembles in that they’re both very intelligent, and as a result they have very straightforward outlooks on life. If something isn’t necessary in the whole grand scheme of things, why bother with it? Logic rules over all and there’s no room for emotions because they hinder from more important things, like school and gaining success. When one considers how Ha Ni and Seung Jo are complete opposites, it might seem at first that things wouldn’t be able to work out between the two of them, but knowing how my personality differs so from my friend’s who I mentioned just now, I’m actually rooting for Ha Ni to start influencing Seung Jo to lighten up and take things into stride rather than be so black and white. (I’ve only seen up to the end of episode 4 so I’m just speaking from what I’ve seen.)

I feel for the cast and the production team because I definitely think Playful Kiss merits more than a dismal 3.0% in viewership, but I get that the viewers might be into SKKS, MGIAG or any of the other dramas because of their casts and storylines. Like the wonderful ockoala put it in one of her entries on her fabulous blog, Playful Kiss is more indicative of a drama that portrays a little slice of life. Judging from the fact that the writer of ISWAK wrote the story based on her own experience falling in love with her husband before her untimely passing, that truth alone makes PK a treat for me to watch because it makes the drama seem a little more real to me than other dramas. One of the characteristics of dramas that I can’t avoid is that they always seem so fabricated in their fairy-tale like stories with the airport chases and grand gestures that don’t happen too often in real life. It’s a characteristic that I’ve come to accept because it’s prevalent in almost every drama in the past, present and future, but PK is different in that the characters seem more alive and the stories are more poignant as a result. Because of the boy predicament I’m going through at the moment, it makes the romance of PK all the more sweet and satisfying to watch. And indeed I will keep watching, hoping that even though Joon Gu doesn’t end up with Ha Ni in the end, he will find his happy ending as well somehow. Thanks for reading, and if you haven’t picked up PK yet, please give it a try if you’re looking for a drama that could very well happen in real life. Until next time!