I have seen the light

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.


Jang Hyuk before he discovered the wonders of one-thumb push ups. Also, water retention is a bitch.

[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.


This is the reaction most people have when meeting Lee Gun for the first time.

That said, over the course of the last 18 episodes, this drama has opened my eyes to many things that escaped my notice previously.


Gun shows us why the Lee family is one of the most distinguished in S. Korea.


Other things that caught my attention: his passing resemblance to Takeshi Kaneshiro from certain angles [1]



…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. [2]

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go download Chuno.

[1] 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.
[2] Naturally, this excludes IRIS 2. I have not reached suicide bomber-levels of fanaticism yet.


  1. Great post, sooo funny hahaha. Anddd oh you’re back! (kinda?) And watching this! Sadly I’m so out of the loop with Kdramas (or any recent dramas really) but hehe, sounds like this one has gotten your sign of approval too. Putting it in my To Watch list :)

    1. Hi Jandoe! I hope all is well with you :D

      Hahahaha…I am glad you managed to see the humour in my crazed, er, paen to my latest research subject XDDDD

      I’m still watching dramas (mostly of the Japanese variety though) and I have several drafts squirrelled away but I just wasn’t feeling very inspired…till now, that is.

      Well, I am enjoying this drama v. much despite its erratic tone (and all the bitching going on over at Dramabeans). However I do think the production team made a mistake in choosing the Taiwanese FtLY as its source material. That drama, from what I can gather, is essentially a variation of the girl-meets-ass rom com. Watching the Korean remake, I always felt it had the potential to be a lot more contemplative about the way people are shaped by their experiences. It isn’t, despite what the drama’s candy coloured palette might suggest, a saccharine fantasy. I should really write a post about this drama once it’s done airing!

      1. Please do write a post!!! I look forward to reading your more in-detailed and contemplative thoughts about it. I’m not camping anywhere where this show is concerned since I’m not watching it so I actually have no idea the show’s thread in DB is filled with lots of bitching (though I wouldn’t be surprised ha) but I’ve seen gifs here and there on Tumblr and they look… cute? Or are they meant to mislead non-watchers like me? Ahaha.

        While I don’t have drafts, my to-write list is getting longer by the day haha so I totally get you. It’s a separate experience – just watching shows compared to watching and writing (or watching to write). I haven’t feel very inspired either… so you’re not alone :) still though, I do hope you’ll be inspired enough to write a review/thoughts-driven entry about the show when all is over, given what little you’ve mentioned here in your comment (I’m curious!)

      2. Oh no, the gifs are 100% accurate. The Jangs did a fantastic job selling their characters and making me fall in love with them. I really don’t think I’d have loved them half as much if Gun and Mi-young had been portrayed by different people.

        How I wish someone would invent a machine that transcribes your thoughts directly onto paper! If such a project ever appears on Kickstarter, I will be the first to fund it.

  2. Pretty much summed up how I became a newly converted Jang Hyuk fangirl. I’ve known him too but didn’t understand the fuss about him then. FTLY reintroduced me to Hyukie. Now I know why he’s popular with the ladies. He’s just so breathtakingly beautiful and super charming.

    1. I think what’s really left an impression on me is the fact that I find Gun endearing despite the fact that his sanity is sometimes a little suspect. But then again, the line between madness and genius is a fine one XDDD

  3. So Lee Gun helped you see the light? Viva Lee Gun! The Tree with Deep Roots did it for me. But then I watched Chuno and fell head over heels! He is also amazeballs in Thank You. I recommend everything except Iris2. Welcome to Jang Hyuk heaven! lol

    1. I recommend everything except Iris2.

      I watched Athena and that experience taught me there are only two words that apply to the Iris franchise: Fuck. No.

      Thanks for all the recs! I have a feeling my plate is going to be full till 2018. Haha.

  4. You are late.
    (Not watching this but It’s OK It’s Love is L O v E L Y!)

    And yes, in Chuno he is GDI ILLEGIT!

    Lmao at Kaneshiro — who btw discovered the fountain of youth.

    1. Hahaha…I didn’t think Fated to Love You was your thang. Considering that it took me four years to appreciate Jang Hyuk’s many talents (LOL), let’s hope it doesn’t take me as long to warm up to Jo In-sung.

      Re: Chuno. I am on it! I will suffer through the, er, alternative lifestyle choices to see what everyone’s going on about XD

  5. Great post, thank you (especially the last footnote). I really recommend Please Teach Me English to appreciate his acting. I fell for him in that film and like him a lot still (but not Iris 2 or Midas, no!) Another sageuk in which he is excellent (if repetitive but I didn’t mind) is Tree With Deep Roots. The only drawback of that one is the female lead but she is mute most of the time so her “opening eyes as wide as one can equals to good acting” method is not as annoying as elsewhere.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s