At around this time last year, an extremely rare phenomenon occurred: one of hell’s circles froze over. Well, I have crawled out of hibernation to let you know that the deep freeze has extended its reach and if you listen closely, you might just be able to hear the faint ringing echoes of a crazed maniacal laugh.
When word got out that there was going to be a remake of Fated to Love You, I took it as another sign that K-dramas had run out of ideas. There are already 3, 765, 430 co-habitation/fake marriage /girl meets ass rom-coms out there. Why the hell does the universe need another one to add to the tally? (Thankfully for everyone else, the Powers That Be rarely pay any attention to me.)
At any rate, I have no idea what possessed me to watch this drama. Whatever the source of this divine intervention (and I suspect it has something to do with a certain social networking site that rhymes vaguely with “time waster”), I thank you from the bottom of my calcified heart for opening my eyes to the
smoking HOT specimen of man flesh multi-faceted thespian known as Jang Hyuk. I once was blind but now I see — and let’s just say that the last few weeks have been nothing short of revelatory, starting with the eyeful I got from Innocent Thing.
This, gentle reader, is the story of my journey to enlightenment.
Fleeting Encounters of the Unwashed Kind
The first time I saw Jang Hyuk, I was far from impressed. The year was 2010 and Chuno was all the rage. Being a newbie to the K-drama scene then, I had no idea who he was. You would think the fact he was half naked 75 percent of the time would have been enough to make me an instant fan. However all I saw was an unwashed hobo.
[Image via The Dramatards]
I will admit that all the talk about his intensity and commitment to the role flew over my head as I was more preoccupied with the question of how often his character washed his hair and clothes. (This might also explain why I never made any headway with Taira no Kiyomori, despite the fact that it had a harem of Japan’s finest starring in it.) If only Lee Dae-gil rated personal hygiene as highly as The Love of His Life™.
Sadly, my subsequent encounters with Jang Hyuk were equally uneventful. It didn’t help that his early dramas and movies failed to appeal to my shallower instincts.
[Image via Soompi]
Some mysteries pass all understanding and I was resigned to the fact that I was destined to go through life without knowing what all the fuss over him was about.
Four Years Later: The Veil is Lifted
Lest you get the wrong idea, my “awakening” didn’t happen overnight. It was a gradual process. When I first saw Lee Gun in Fated to Love You, I didn’t really know what to think of him. Well, that’s not exactly true. I thought he was, to put it mildly, a little unhinged.
That said, over the course of the last 18 episodes, this drama has opened my eyes to many things that escaped my notice previously.
Other things that caught my attention: his passing resemblance to Takeshi Kaneshiro from certain angles 
…and the dark, rich timbre of his voice (that is, of course, when Gun is not losing his mind like it’s going out of fashion). This is a man who can say, “I want your liver” and make it sound like a proposition. One of my favourite scenes takes place in ep 3 when he tells douchebag lawyer Min to spread the rumour that Mi-young spurned his advances despite his best efforts to win her heart. My brain might still have been holding out but I think my ears fell in love with him at that very moment.
After that, it was just a matter of time before I capitulated.
On a side note, I’m pretty sure that his heated glances are partially responsible for global warming…
I can’t tell you how good it feels to be liberated. Of course, my journey is far from over. As a newly minted, er, disciple, there is much to learn and one heck of a backlist to plough through. 
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go download Chuno.
 Dear Lee Ang, John Woo, Tsui Hark & Co, here’s an idea for you: How about casting these two in the same action movie? (If you can find a way to throw Odagiri Joe into the mix, that would be great too). Just think of all the money you’ll be able to save on blowing things up with these two out-smouldering each other on screen.
 Naturally, this excludes IRIS 2. I have not reached suicide bomber-levels of fanaticism yet.