If you had asked me whether I was going to watch Lie to Me when it was airing last year, I would have told you that you couldn’t pay me enough to touch it with the proverbial barge pole. Well, 2012 is looking to be the year where I find my words coming back to laugh in my face. Damn you, Sung Joon. Couldn’t you have picked another drama? Maybe I should consider watching White Christmas instead. Can someone please talk me out of this?
You know what I love most about this drama (apart from Sung Joon’s smexy jawline and the ridiculously insane amount of pretty crammed into each frame)? It’s how authentic the emotions and characters feel. I’ve watched more than my fair share of high school dramas and movies over the years (some good and some just for the…er…eye candy) but this is one of the rare few where I find the feelings and actions of the characters resonating with my inner 16-year-old like nobody’s business. From Myung-soo’s prickly and distant nature to Woo-kyung’s feelings of inadequacy, I’m surprised how often I find myself thinking, ‘Yeah, I can totally relate to that’ while watching this drama.
Story-wise, Shut Up Flower Boy Band continues to keep things fresh with its breezy pacing and the cast’s off-the-charts chemistry with one another. Most of us were wondering how this drama would fare following Lee Min-ki’s departure but I think it’s fair to say that the rest of the boys have held their own admirably. After all, I can’t be the only one wishing that Monday would roll around faster, right?
Last Week In Review
A summary of what I loved and thought about the last four episodes:
1. Oh Brave, Fearless Leader!
I didn’t pay much attention to Sung Joon when I saw his press conference pictures prior to the premiere of this drama but my god, it’s a wonder what a frizzy hairdo and a drawl that sounds like it’s been aged in a barrel of smoke, tar and 70% dark chocolate can do to a girl XDDD
There was never any question about the fact that his character would have to step up to the plate following Byung-hee’s exit but I wasn’t expecting the hidden reserves of star appeal underneath that gruff, scruffy exterior. He’s a lot more low-key than his flamboyant friend, of course, but he has a presence that makes you sit up and take notice nonetheless.
Having said that, a large part of his appeal for me lies in the way this drama has handled his character’s development. I’m glad the writer hasn’t turned him into an overnight hero who ganbarus his way through all his obstacles. Ji-hyuk has leadership qualities, yes, but he also has less than stellar traits and I like that he remains for the most part a normal teenage boy who just wants to stay in his room and be a bum — that’s what makes him real for me.
2. The Romance
[via Eien no Uta]
I’m going to preface this by saying that I love Su-ah and all the haters can See. The. Door. (And yes, I know the gifs above are from episode 8 but I couldn’t resist. They’re just too cute in this scene.)
The question concerning these two is whether it’s right for Ji-hyuk to go after his best friend’s girl. While this might have posed a slight problem were Byung-hee still alive, ultimately the answer lies with Su-ah. If she doesn’t even have feelings for him in the first place, how can she be his girl? Also, since when did “muse” become a synonym for “girlfriend”?
Regardless of the fact that Byung-hee saw her first, this drama has always made it clear that Ji-hyuk is the one she’s drawn to. From the moment they saw each other in the guitar shop to all their subsequent encounters throughout the show, Ji-hyuk has always been the one getting under her skin and eliciting a reaction from her. So there’s no question in my mind that these two should be together.
What I appreciate about how this drama has set up their relationship is that even though we know Su-ah will choose Ji-hyuk over Seung-hoon, it’s never presented as a cut-and-dried conclusion. It’s a relationship that evolves naturally out of their growing attraction to each other and one that’s aided along by Seung-hoon’s own actions.
By all accounts, given that he’s known Su-ah since kindergarten, Seung-hoon could easily have had the upper hand over Ji-hyuk. God knows he had his chances but he just let them slip through his fingers, starting with the shopping vouchers in episode 4. It’s telling that his reaction to learning about her father’s business troubles is to give her money to buy things. True, it’s a well-meaning gesture but it’s also a not very well thought out one that underscores his attitude to life’s problems in general i.e. there’s nothing you can’t solve with money.
However it’s when the news of her father’s arrest finally breaks that he really misses his opportunity. He could easily have called off the competition and taken her to a quiet place to give her some time to herself but he doesn’t. All he does is yell at the students to be quiet, leaving the door wide open for Ji-hyuk to come in and whisk her away on that tank of a motorbike. The implication couldn’t be clearer: For Ji-hyuk, the people he cares about come first. Seung-hoon is the type who puts winning over everything else.
Not to mention, his complacency does him in even further when he blows off his recording session, which results in his sister hiring an outsider (which turns out to be Ji-hyuk, natch) to sing his guide vocals. In his attempt to impress Su-ah, he hands her the recording of the song, not realising that he’s just giving her another reason to fall for him. Also, Seung-hoon’s sense of entitlement prevents him not only from acknowledging Ji-hyuk as a rival but also making an effort to understand the girl he likes — to him, it’s just a matter of time before she yields to him. All he has to do is be persistent and she’ll fall, just like the rest of the other girls.
Having watched episodes 7 and 8, what remains to be seen is how Seung-hoon handles her rejection. It looks like he’s showing signs of pulling that familiar K-drama stalker routine but maybe he just needs time to get over it? One can hope, right?
3. Playboys and the Girls Who Love ’em
I’m very surprised how much Ha-jin has grown on me over the last two episodes considering that I didn’t have much of an impression of him at first. He was volatile, irresponsible and flirty, i.e. pretty much like every other high school playboy I’ve seen in a drama. Then episodes 5 and 6 came along and chipped away at my indifference.
His face when Ji-hyuk and Soo-ah are being interrogated by Woo-kyung about their living arrangements — so much glee at seeing his normally unflappable and stoic leader squirm XD
You can just see the wheels turning in his head as he sizes up the situation before him — a boy and a pretty girl living together in close proximity, seeing each other every day…yeah, helping your best friend’s muse, my ass.
And the way he pounces and reminds Ji-hyuk that he isn’t supposed to have any ramyun at home when the latter tries to diffuse the tension with food — this boy likes stirring shit up, that’s for sure. Ha-jin may seem like a troublemaker but that’s because he doesn’t hide his feelings (and he lacks a brain-mouth filter XD) If he’s mad about something, he’ll confront the person immediately and as quick as he is to lose his temper, he’s also quick to make up.
To me, he’s that kid brother who gets a kick out of making your life difficult and while you may have the urge to kill him sometimes, you also know that there’s no question where his loyalties lie. The scene where he breaks off his date to disentangle Woo-kyung from her cat fight is one of my favourites of episode 6.
He might be ruing his missed chances with his noona but it’s clear which girl comes first in his life.
You know you mean something to him when he’s willing ditch his date and risk his hair for you XD
3. The Kyung-jong and Ha-jin Show
I love these two so, so much. Who would have thought that the two reality contestants in this drama would be so much fun to watch? Their outgoing personalities balance out the moodier and more taciturn members of the group, not to mention, I can’t get enough of their bickering relationship. OTP for life: Y/Y?
This is from Episode 1 but I love how Kyung-jong has to actually pause and think about it when Teacher Kim asks if they’re married to each other XD Also, Ha-jin’s smirk ♥
4. The Man-Hug to End All Man-Hugs (this season, at least)
I bet you didn’t see this coming unless you were spoiled by Tumblr.
Given the way Hyun-soo has been pushing his limits, many of us were bracing ourselves for a fallout between him and Ji-hyuk. He’s what parenting guide books would describe as “sensitive” (translation: moody as hell) and let’s just say that he isn’t the easiest person to be around, partly because he’s put up all these barriers that shut people out. Yet at the same time, he craves recognition and wants people to look up to him.
I suspect he doesn’t deal very well with change either, which is something that keeps disrupting his limited social circle, first with Byung-hee who usurped his place as Ji-hyuk’s BFF, and then Soo-ah, who’s now filled in for their dear departed leader. God, what does an anti-social Ice Prince have to do to keep his position as BFF around here? XD
I think Ji-hyuk recognises this, which explains why he just shrugs off Hyun-soo’s jibes and pointed remarks instead of reacting to them. Ji-hyuk’s someone who prefers to let his actions do the talking (can you imagine the both of them sitting down to talk about their feelings? I think Ji-hyuk would rather eat Byung-hee’s guitar strings.) so by stopping the performance midway, he’s also letting Hyun-soo know that no matter how the group’s dynamics change, they’ll always be bros, man.
5. When Unrequited Love Happens to Secondary Characters
For most secondary K-drama female characters, the de facto solution to changing the mind of an indifferent love interest is to turn up the crazy and love that poor bastard into submission.
*sigh* You know, I was so proud of Woo-kyung in episode 6 because I thought she was going to close the door on her one-sided crush when she acknowledged that Ji-hyuk didn’t love her. I thought, ‘Finally, a secondary female character who knows when to stop.’ Then I saw this week’s episodes. *SIGH* Why must you do this, Drama? WHY?
Look, I think Woo-kyung is a great girl — she’s a sassy, take-charge character who isn’t hesitant about making her feelings known and going after what she wants. Up until episode 6, I thought the drama did a pretty good job handling her story and fleshing out her insecurities. It’s easy to forget that Woo-kyung is younger than she looks because she has that air of maturity about her (she’s just one year older than Su-ah making her 17? 18? 19?) She’s street smart and tough but like any girl her age, she has her insecurities as well — in her case, she’s working class and not very well-educated — which we get a glimpse of during her first encounter with Su-ah.
I was willing to cut her some slack and sympathise with her but what she said to Ji-hyuk in episode 8 made ZERO sense to me. Girl, who are you to tell him not to go out with the girl his best friend liked? (Again, this line of reasoning doesn’t hold any water for the reasons I’ve mentioned above.) I hope this drama has her come to her senses soon. Speaking of which, I also hope that Do-il will make some real progress by telling her how he feels or handing her a reality check, at the very least.
Do-il, most women, especially those of the K-drama persuasion, don’t have ESP. They can’t tell what you’re thinking if you just stand there. You need to Spell. It. Out. For. Her. And please don’t take eight episodes to do it. I want to see you two go out on at least one date and be disgustingly happy before this drama is over.
Random Thoughts & Speculations
- In typical K-drama fashion, will it be revealed that there’s a connection between Ji-hyuk’s parents and Soo-ah’s father? I am extremely curious about Ji-hyuk’s family background.
- Now that the rock festival is over, the boys don’t really have a reason to stay in school and we all know that the principal wants nothing more than to see them leave. There’s the possibility someone might be expelled given what he said to Teacher Kim, “You have to pull out the first weed before the others spring up.” Given the boys’ spotty records, I think the question is who’s going to get the boot first? Is it going to be Do-il, who we know has already chalked up 40 points? Or is it going to be Hyun-soo, who’s probably not far behind given how he’s been skipping school to fine tune his riffs? Or is it going to be Ha-jin and Kyung-jong for all their very public displays of affection? XD
- If you’ve seen the official relationship chart, you’ll know that Ha-jin is going to find himself in a love triangle along with Myung-soo and Kim Ye-rim (what’s interesting is that there’s no indication of Hyun-soo reciprocating those feelings…yet.) But if episode 6 is anything to go by, it looks like Hateful Pyo-joo has the hots for her as well. So does this mean he’ll get his ass handed to him by one of the boys? More to the point, will he be stupid enough to pick a fight with Hyun-soo?