A Newbie Reviews: Dramas of 2010

As the year 2010 comes to a close, I feel a little shell-shocked at how quickly time has passed by. Pretty soon, I’ll reach one year since I first become a fansubber/translator and since I started this very blog. By extension, this is the first year-end review I’m writing so please bear with me as I try to be as objective and impartial as possible. Not only will I be reviewing dramas that aired this year that I watched, but a few that I watched for the first time this year although they aired in previous years. Brace yourselves, this is going to be a long one.

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The Close of Page One

Here we are… I’ve finally completed Coffee House the series and I enjoyed it immensely. It was one I was watching before I trekked to Russia for the summer, so I didn’t get to finish it until I got back, and by that time, I was so busy with school and subbing other dramas that I couldn’t continue with it until I marathoned through the final 6 or so episodes over the past few days. As usual, here are my thoughts on the delightful CH.

Unfortunately, this review of Coffee House is sans screencaps because of the long break I took in completing it, and I don’t really want to go through all the episodes to try and capture all of the cute moments in CH (especially because there were so many). I’m just going to start off by saying I hope y’all decide to give Coffee House a try if you haven’t already, because it was one of the better rom-com k-dramas I’ve seen to date. The execution was done well, I liked the trifecta of k-dramas overall (writing, directing and acting), and the pace of the drama was refreshing too.

The characters of Coffee House were all interesting in that all of them had flaws. Glaring ones, in fact, but I don’t know if it was due to the writing or the acting that made all of them so likable. All I do know is that I hoped throughout watching each episode that there was a happy ending for all of the people in the CH universe, and I was pleased to see that my hope wasn’t in vain. For me, I could only root for Coffee House if the OTP was Seo Eun Young and Lee Jin Soo, and I was so relieved and happy that they wound up together in the end. I loved how their love story played out and how each of them had such a profound impact on the other, eliciting change for the better and producing growth in both their characters as a result. Through their many fights, misunderstandings, and shed tears, they learned just how much they loved each other, and theirs honestly was one of the best couplings that I’ve seen in any k-drama. It also doesn’t hurt that Kang Ji Hwan and Park Si Yeon have scorching chemistry that just about hits the roof in their more intense scenes. It was difficult for me to believe that the way Kang Ji Hwan looked at Park Si Yeon after their snog kiss in episode 11 was just acting. Speaking of that kiss, it probably was one of the hottest kisses of any k-drama or k-movie, heightened by the emotional tension and buildup leading up to it, and it knocked the Personal Taste episode 10 kiss off my ultimate favorite kiss spot.

I also really enjoyed the way the drama not only focused on their love story, but also concentrated on Seung Yeon’s development into adulthood. To be honest, she really annoyed me for the majority of the drama which prevented me from warming up to her or caring about her character at all, but once the time lapse was utilized and she was shown as having matured and grown into a woman, I began to root for her happy ending as well. I honestly don’t think she deserves Dong Wook because of how adorably devoted he was in his feelings for her, but I can understand her not having eyes for anyone else with Kang Ji Hwan gallivanting in front of her in all his gorgeousness. Seriously, he is one beautiful, beautiful man and I am beyond jealous that Park Si Yeon got to make out act with him.

Last but not least, I really enjoyed the character of Ha Ji Won. Thanks to him, I got a lot of laughs and comic relief, but the actor also excelled at the emotional scenes as well. His crying scene in the final episode was particularly well done and I felt my heart constrict for this formerly insensitive egomaniac turned devoted loving figure as he dealt with losing Eun Young. In a lot of ways, he can be seen as having made the most progress and character development, but since all of our lovable characters had such significant transformations, I guess it’s to be expected that Ji Won had his too.

I can’t say I was emotionally swept away by this drama, but there were a lot of points where I felt for the characters and this drama was especially good at getting its viewers to care for the people living the events unfolding in front of our eyes. I was quite impressed with the progress Park Si Yeon has made acting-wise, and Kang Ji Hwan sparkled onscreen, as usual. I never had my doubts about my beloved Ji Hwan and he blew me away. Ham Eun Jung wasn’t one of my favorite aspects of Coffee House and I think I might’ve developed more of an opinion about her if a stronger actress had played the character of Seung Yeon. OTT acting is one of the things I hate most in any k-drama and she was OTT for most of the scenes she was in, so I’ll just leave it at that. I definitely would recommend this drama for anyone who wants a different kind of rom-com with flawed characters who manage to capture our attention just the same and cause us to root for them. I don’t think this was Kang Ji Hwan‘s strongest role, but he owned Lee Jin Soo and I highly doubt that Lee Jin Soo would’ve been as appealing if a lesser actor played him. Same for Park Si Yeon. Oh and one last thought before I close this up… this drama had one of the best final episodes I’ve ever seen. It was well thought-out, and although some of the storylines were a little contrived (Ji Won being attracted to his white colleague) I liked it a lot for the most part. Yay for good pacing! 🙂