My Crack List

Given the pace at which I write, the glaciers in Antarctica will probably melt before I finish the 375,201 reviews I have in my backlog. So here’s the condensed version to give you an idea of the kind of shows that I enjoy watching. This list will be updated…er…fairly regularly, so do check back every once in a while!

It goes without saying that not all crack is created equal and that there are many different grades of said substance, which can be summed up roughly as follows:

Le Grand Cru: Everything about this drama tells you that it is in a league of its own, from the writing and acting to the directing and production values. A must watch.

Grade A: Entertaining story with engaging characters that make you emotionally invested in their lives, so much so that you are willing to stay up late (or wake up early, depending on where you’re located) just to watch the drama as it’s playing in its country of origin. If watching post-season, you marathon it at the expense of your social obligations, work, mental well-being etc. A common response when friends try to include you in their activities is:

Via living-in-moonland.tumblr.com

No Brain Required: You can feel your brain cells going into a coma as you watch each episode and your friends or colleagues would probably disassociate themselves from you if they found out about your secret vice but you can’t tear yourself away from it – and you have no regrets.

The Crack that Wasn’t Meant to Be: You know how it is. Sometimes despite wanting to love a drama, it just wasn’t for you.

Urgh: You can’t pay me enough to watch this again.

Le Grand Cru

Soredemo, Ikite Yuku (Japan, 2011)

Let me put it this way: it doesn’t matter if the subject of this drama isn’t your cup of tea. If you do not recognise the sheer quality of Soredemo, Ikite Yuku within the first five minutes, Imma respectfully ask that you get your eyes checked.

In a nutshell, Soredemo is a drama about two families whose lives are irrevocably changed following the murder of a young girl. It may sound like a dreary and depressing subject but you’ll be surprised at how hopeful the tone of this drama actually is. While it doesn’t shy away from presenting the ugly side of human nature, it does so with a deft and non-judgemental hand as it explores the themes of guilt, culpability and atonement: Who’s to blame when a teenage boy kills a child – his parents? The victim’s brother who should have been looking after his sister? The killer’s sister who should have reported that her brother had a problem? And how exactly does one atone for such a crime? Elegantly written, Soredemo is a restrained and moving drama supported by a stellar cast. Eita and Mitsushima Hikari turn in stirring performances as the star-crossed protagonists but Otake Shinobu is in a class of her own as the anguished mother struggling to cope with her loss. Unforgettable.

Misaeng (S. Korea, 2014)

Misaeng

On paper, this drama sounds about as sexy as a love call from the tax man: an unsuccessful baduk player finds himself having to start his career from scratch in the world of corporate sales. There’s plenty of talk about P&L sheets and contracts, and no romance whatsoever. Surely a drama like this is something you watch only if you have trouble sleeping, right? If that’s the case, South Korea sure has plenty of insomniacs.

Like its unassuming protagonist, this drama adaptation of Yoon Tae-ho’s hit webtoon of the same name is a multi-layered gem. A valentine to the country’s salarymen and women, it captures the high-pressure, performance- and liquor-driven world of South Korean conglomerates, spotlighting such social issues as gender discrimination and work-life balance. At the same time, it is also a coming-of-age story, an underdog tale and more importantly, a human drama of the first order brought to life by a fantastic ensemble cast and director Kim Won-suk’s eye for detail. Considering that I haven’t updated this site since my paen to Jang Hyuk, the fact that I am momentarily wrenching free from my inertia to write this should give you an idea of the depth of my FEELZ for Misaeng. (Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the director also helmed Sungkyunkwan Scandal — my first ever crack drama <333)

TL;DR: A++++++. DESERVES ALL THE AWARDS IT’S WON.

Grade A

49 Days (S. Korea, 2011) 

Starts out slow but picks up speed with each episode and develops into full-blown Krack around episode 8. Jo Hyun-jae is a heartbreaker as Han Kang, the taciturn architect nursing a decade-long crush on his highschool love while Jung Il-woo gives the role of the grim reaper a 21st century update as the cocky, oh-so-snazzily dressed Scheduler. Whether you find Nam Gyu-ri’s Shin Ji-hyun likeable depends on your threshold of tolerance for dim-witted female characters but Lee Yo-won deserves props for pulling off her double shift as Ji-hyun (or Ji-kyung, as most viewers prefer to call her) and the morose Song Yi-kyung. Overall, this drama doesn’t have the firmest grasp on logic – it falters whenever it moves its attention to the hostile company takeover subplot – but it’s at its most addictive when it focuses on the characters’ relationships and the blossoming romance between Han Kang and his One True Love.

JIN (Japan, 2009)

This drama could easily have been a clichéd soap opera about how the Power of Love™ transcends time but thankfully JIN sidesteps the melodrama in favour of a story that explores broader themes of fate and destiny. Part mystery, part jidaigeki and part medical procedural, JIN is a fusion drama in every sense of the word and one that is filled with unforgettable characters. The cast is top notch: Osawa Takao is fine as hell turns in an award-winning performance as the tender-hearted neurosurgeon who regains his perspective through his sojourn in 1860s Edo. But more than anything else, I love the way its leading ladies rise above their stations in life. Saki and Nokaze (played wonderfully by Ayase Haruka and Nakatani Miki respectively) may be bound by the restrictions imposed on them by their social status but never do they allow themselves to be defined solely by their roles in society. And how can I not mention Uchino Masaaki’s scene stealing performance as the legendary Sakamoto Ryoma? If only JIN had aired when I was in school. I’d have aced my exam on the Meiji Restoration.

Ninkyo Helper (Japan, 2009) 

Hot damn, Kusanagi. Is that really you? The SMAPster’s comeback role as a yakuza anti-hero is one of his best to-date and it’s a real eye-opener watching him swagger, sneer and heat butt his way across the screen in this entertaining drama. Ninkyo Helper isn’t without its flaws — the yakuza-masquerading-as-social-workers premise doesn’t hold much water but if you can suspend your disbelief and accept that a girl can infiltrate an all-male university without anyone noticing her lack of an adam’s apple, then this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Having said that, the drama does make up for this with a thoughtful look at the issues facing Japan’s elderly as well as a compelling story of personal redemption. The acting is pretty solid in general but special kudos goes to Kusanagi, Natsukawa Yui and the child actor Kato Seishiro for their heartfelt and memorable performances. Natsukawa’s character arc takes some time to get going but once it does, that’s when you ought to break out the Kleenex because they are all going to break your heart at least once. (ETA: Because it is unlikely that I will ever get around to posting a review of Ninkyo Helper, I’d like to direct you to Ender’s Girl’s critique over at The Little Dorama Girl. It’s thorough and entertaining as heck, and the best you’ll find on the Interwebs.)

Nodame Cantabile (Japan, 2006)

Two things to note if you’re watching this drama for the first time: 1) This is not a romantic comedy despite what Nodame’s single-minded pursuit of Chiaki (and the Nodame + Chiaki fandom) might have you think. Romance is not the main focus of this drama so if you’re looking for sizzling UST, you’ll be sorely disappointed. 2) Nodame is a bit of an idiot savant a little nutty. Just accept it. Her behavior will make a lot more sense once you do.

A drama about two very different people who inspire each other to face their fears and dream again, Nodame Cantabile has all the makings of a classic: a stellar ensemble, rock solid performances and an A+ soundtrack. Tamaki Hiroshi and Ueno Juri are unforgettable as Chiaki and Nodame respectively, and they share a fantastic chemistry with the supporting players – Takenaka Naoto, in particular, is a hoot as the ero-jiji Stressemann. The humour may take a little getting used to but underneath all the silliness is a drama that is unstinting in the way it pushes its characters to be the best that they can be.

Shut Up Flower Boy Band (S. Korea, 2012)

Look, I know you’re probably looking at the title and thinking of something snarky to say but do yourself a favour and watch the first two episodes before dismissing it. I say this because I too was prepared to mock the crap out of it at first. However Lee Min-ki’s scenestealing cameo soon put paid to that and by the time the boys did their obligatory slow-mo strut down the corridor of their new high school, I was stuffing my face with crow.

Shut Up Flower Boy Band is not the kind of drama that you’d expect to have anything in the way of substance — and that’s where you’d be wrong. Apart from having a well-executed story, what sets it apart from other high-school dramas is the gritty way in which it captures the vagaries of adolescence. The acting can be raw and uneven but the crackling cast chemistry, especially among the boys in the band, goes a long way in earning them a reprieve on this score. Definitely one of my dramas of the year.

Sungkyunkwan Scandal (S. Korea, 2010)

Ah, yes. The mania drama of 2010. Well, I recapped fifteen of the episodes so that should tell you how much I loved it when it was airing. Funny, fresh and hip, Sungkyunkwan Scandal is a campus drama brimming with ambition, youthful ideals and plenty of fan service. The Jalgeum Quartet are irresistible and while Micky Yoochun and Park Min-young’s nerdy romance has cuteness in spades, it’s Yoo Ah-in and Song Joong-ki’s epic bromance of Brokeback proportions that you’ll remember for a good while to come. The drama isn’t without its flaws though. Its villain and secondary characters are left languishing quite pitifully and the plot trips on its own ambitions in the final arc. Having said that, perhaps the best way to regard Sungkyunkwan Scandal is as one long road trip. After all, not everything has to be about the destination, right? 

Tonbi (Japan, 2013)

tonbi

I wish whoever’s behind all those life-consuming Korean weekend family dramas would take a look at Tonbi and realise that it is possible to produce a heartwarming story in just 10 episodes without the need for any long-winded incest/birth secret makjang.

At first, I thought this was going to be a cry-fest about the lengths to which a father will go for his son but it turned out to be more like Zen and the Trial-and-Error Method of Parenting. Sato Takeru may share top billing here but there’s no doubt that this drama belongs to Uchino Masaaki, who plays his hard-headed, childish and occasionally infuriating father. Kudos too goes to the supporting cast, especially Asou Yumi and Emoto Akira, for their lovely performance as the Ichikawas’ surrogate family. By turns funny and poignant, Tonbi will make you laugh — and perhaps even re-evaluate your relationship with your father — as it envelops you in a blanket of warm, fuzzy emotions.

The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry (S. Korea, 2010) 

While dramas about single career women looking for love aren’t all that uncommon, it’s the rare one that goes beyond featuring stock characters. TWWSWM was my surprise find of 2010 and I say “surprise” because I didn’t expect it to feel so true to life. The stars of this drama are, without a doubt, its leading ladies and each actress does a fantastic job of making her character her own. In particular, Park Jin-hee struck a chord with me as Lee Shin-young, the spirited 34-year-old reporter, and Eom Ji-won does a stellar job in bringing to life a difficult character. Da-jung could have been one of those whiny, petulant women who are forever complaining about being single (and she does complain about being single a lot) but Eom plays her with a lot of grace, balancing her character’s silliness with humour and self-awareness. Wang Bit-na is awesome as the drama’s Voice of Reason. That’s all I have to say about her character. Want to know more about this drama? Read the review.

Yuusha Yoshihiko to Maou no Shiro (Japan, 2011)

Yuusha_Yoshihiko_to_Maou_no_Shiro

It’s obvious Fukuda Yuichi made this cheeky tribute to the Dragon Quest RPG series on a shoestring budget but what it lacks in special effects, it makes up for in humour and heart. You don’t have to be a fan of the game to get the jokes in this show, which could be described as the Japanese love child of the Scary Movie franchise and Monty Python. Yamada Takayuki leads the cast as the eponymous pure-hearted (if somewhat dim) hero and while I love all the characters, my secret favourite is without a doubt Meru Tsuyoshi’s loser wizard, Merubu. Keep an eye out also for cameos by Oguri Shun, Yasuda Ken and Ayano Go, among others.

No Brain Required

Boys Over Flowers (S. Korea, 2009)

Financially-challenged plucky heroine reforms rich asshole and becomes friends with his three ridiculously hot amigos…you know, when you look at it this way, it doesn’t sound half that bad. A lot of blogs out there have compared the Taiwanese, Japanese and Korean versions to death but for what it’s worth, I thought it was entertaining in an OMG-why-am-I-even-watching-this kind of way. Well, the first part at least. I FF-ed all the scenes involving Ji-hoo and his grandfather as well as the Jun-pyo, Jan-di and Jae-kyung circus in the second part (though I preferred Lee Min-jung to her Japanese counterpart.) Where I’m concerned, eps 13-25 were all about Yi-jung and Ga-eul. Let’s entertain no illusions about this: BOF is no Anna Karenina. It’s silly, unabashedly OTT and insane and it’s about as good for you as a deep-fried sundae but that’s why you call it a guilty pleasure, no? Watch it and then weep for your brain cells.

Hana Kimi 2011 (Japan, 2011) 

I never understood the vitriol directed at this remake or why people seemed to take it so personally that Fuji TV was producing a second version. It was never meant to replace the first one and if you can’t bear the thought of other actors playing the characters, don’t watch it.

Barring the last few episodes, this remake gave me many of the things I liked about the Hana Kimi manga: 1) a fabulous Oscar M. Himejima, 2) Nakatsu x Kayashima (okay, so this wasn’t that evident in the manga but Shohei and Tomo made a pretty damn good case for it), and 3) a fantastic Hibari and Umeda. But the biggest surprise for me was Nakao. I never really paid much attention to him in the manga but he’s impossible to ignore here because Nishii Yukito just about steals all his scenes as the junior with the impossible crush on his upperclassman. Too bad Nanba is immune to his charms. Maybe he should have set his sights on Kayashima instead? XD

Itazura na Kiss ~ Love in Tokyo (Japan, 2013)

InKLiTIf you had told me that I would one day find the heroine of Itazura na Kiss lovable and write a 5,000-word tribute to the series, I would have asked you to check the expiry date on your meds. Well, guess what? That day has finally come.

As Kotoko, Miki Honoka succeeds in pulling off the unimaginable and turns a character that used to be known for her lack of grey matter and self-respect into someone I can root for wholeheartedly. (Yes, I love her and all the haters can see. the. door.) Furukawa Yuki might have earned himself close to a million new fans with his tsundere portrayal of Naoki but this drama wouldn’t have been half as charming without Honoka’s winsome performance. This being ItaKiss, let’s just dispense with the intellectual judgement and enjoy it for what it is — pure, unadulterated shoujo crack. You can make it up to your brain later by watching something like Soredemo, Ikite Yuku or Suzuki Sensei.

Ouran High School Host Club (Japan, 2011)

Otherwise known as the drama that launched a hundred Daito Shunsuke tumblogs. While I wouldn’t say that the cast for this live adaptation was perfect (yes, I would have preferred a different actor for at least one of the characters), given the logistical constraints they were working with, I’d say they did a decent job of capturing the spirit of Bisco Hatori’s work. That said, while I watched Ouran for one host in particular, my favourite part of the drama was really the fandom frenzy that it spawned, and there were times when I looked forward to the fans’ reactions more than the drama itself. In sum, if you’re new to Ouran or a die-hard fan of the manga/anime, the key to enjoying this drama lies in accepting the limitations of the medium as well as managing your expectations. It’s a midnight drama headlined by a teen and a bunch of 20-somethings, most of whom have less acting experience than Kato Seishiro (who’s just 10, btw). Adjust your expectations accordingly.

Yaoh (Japan, 2006) 

If Jackie Collins were a Japanese woman and she had written a novel about a thug-turned-host who charms his way to the top of Tokyo’s adult entertainment world, this would have been its drama adaptation. Let’s get one thing straight: Yaoh will test your brain. This is a drama that has characters giving up their family fortune just so that they can make women happy — as a male escort. And women are in turn only too willing to drop bricks of yen on them because in the world of Yaoh, all roads to happiness lead to the host club. *facepalm* In between the bitchy inter-club host rivalries and Matsuoka Masahiro’s woodenly earnest I-am-going-to-be-Numbaaaaa-1 demeanour, I lost count of the number of times I said, “This is so stupid” while watching this drama. And yet, I couldn’t stop myself from reaching for the next episode, if only so that I could watch Kitamura Kazuki’s fabulously coiffed lothario strut down Kabuki-cho in the season’s latest drapery styles.

The Crack That Wasn’t Meant to Be

The Greatest Love (S. Korea, 2011)

A satire about the Korean entertainment industry, The Greatest Love goes one up on the Hong Sisters’ previous outings by featuring female characters who aren’t complete idiots and more importantly, a Second Lead who puts up a decent fight for the hand of the woman he loves. Fresh from his stint as a badass terrorist in Athena, Cha Seung-won does a 180-degree turn as the egotistical, larger-than-life movie star, Dokko Jin. Cha also shares a wonderful rapport with the child actor, Yang Han-yeol, and I suspect their adorable friendship is the reason some people backed the Dokko line. Yoon Kye-sang is dreamy as the sweet, nerdy Oriental physician who falls for Gong Hyo-jin’s D-list star while Yoo In-na lends a credible performance as the self-absorbed starlet who falls for the good doctor. And yet, despite the solid performances and all the clever metaphors about potatoes, azaleas, camellias and what-have-you, I never fell in love with this drama. Gong hyo-jin is an actress I like instinctively and while I can appreciate her natural and understated performance as Ae-jung, the character was a bit too placid and martyr-like for my liking, which also explains why I was never fully invested in the OTP.

JIN 2 (Japan, 2011)

I watched this sequel expecting answers to the questions raised in the first season’s cliffhanger. Instead, not only was I none the wiser, I started losing interest in the series halfway through. The reason for this lies in the drama’s approach: JIN 2 is not the character-driven drama that its predecessor was; It is a historical melodrama that could have been resolved in a two-part special. Gone are the existential questions and ethical dilemmas that framed the first season’s narrative — this sequel is essentially about Jin trying to prevent Sakamoto Ryoma’s assassination while trying to figure out what he feels for Saki (you’d think that the fact everyone keeps telling them to get a room would be a big enough hint but no…) The richly drawn characters of the first season are shadows of their former selves here and what bogs the drama down even more is the long drawn-out Bakumatsu politics. I’ll be honest with you: I wasn’t interested in the factions and their squabbles. What I really wanted to know was why Jin had been sent back in time to this particular period and what the deal was with the fetus in his head. On a separate note, I know the ending had some people crying buckets but I felt it didn’t have to end the way it did. Interestingly enough, according to irate viewers over at D-Addicts, the writer took huge liberties with the source material — apparently, the sequel bears zero resemblance to the manga, which ends on a happier note. So if the ending left you feeling unsatisfied, I’d suggest checking out the manga to see how Murakami Motoka wrapped up his story.

The King of Dramas (S. Korea, 2012-13)

The_King_of_Dramas

As a satire about the backstage machinations of the Korean entertainment industry, this drama is lots of fun to watch. As a drama about a man who gradually regains his soul after exchanging it for a lucrative career as the industry’s most esteemed (and hated) drama producer, it’s an average melo that employs the usual overused tropes: Mawkish childhood story of woe? Check. Redemption through love? Check. Noble idiocy? Check. Second female lead who can’t take a hint? Check.

What makes The King of Dramas an addictive ride is not so much the story itself but the performance of the cast and  their infectious chemistry, both of which help mask the script’s shortcomings. There’s no question that this drama belongs to Kim Myung-min, who turns in a commanding and wryly humorous performance as the drama’s titular Svengali, and without whom you wouldn’t have fans asking: “What would Anthony do?” even till today. As a man whose pursuit of success has eroded nearly all of his inner self, Anthony could have made for a fascinating character study. Unfortunately, despite the promise it shows in its early episodes, this drama (which I like to think was renamed The King of Sap in its final arc) never really explores the character in much detail and ends up reducing him to a boat-load of clichés. What a waste.

Wild Romance (S. Korea, 2012)

Park Yun-sun (Evasive Inquiry Agency, Alone in Love) has a reputation for writing smart contemporary dramas and Wild Romance has all the hallmarks of a Park offering — complex characters, diverse themes and snappy dialogue. Too bad the director, marketing department and people who thought it would be a good idea to cast SNSD’s Jessica weren’t on the same page.

Despite what the promo materials might suggest, Wild Romance isn’t a rom-com but an ensemble drama about how love (and not just the romantic kind) makes people do crazy things. It’s a story with a sense of humour — just not the slapstick kind that relies on exaggerated facial contortions. I started the drama liking Lee Shi-young’s character. However this feeling of goodwill was soon replaced by irritation as Eun-jae went from being a spunky heroine to the female equivalent of one of the three stooges. Lee Dong-wook’s dumb jock character didn’t have that many redeeming qualities either and the thought of both of them passing on their gene pool to future generations just made me shudder. In general, the acting runs the gamut from polished to please-retire-now and I found the supporting cast (Kang Dong-ho, Im Joo-eun, Lee Hee-joon et al) a lot more fun to watch partly because of their chemistry with one another. The lead characters, on the other hand, just don’t have the same cohesiveness and this becomes even more evident when Jessica’s character enters the picture. Apart from the fact that she was miscast, her lack of chemistry with her co-stars, in particular Hwang Sun-hee and Oh Man-suk, makes her meagre acting skills a lot harder to swallow. Overall, a watchable drama but not as good as it could (or should) have been.

You’re Beautiful (S. Korea, 2009)

I think how much you enjoy this drama depends on how well you take to infantilised female characters. Don’t get me wrong. I do think that You’re Beautiful is an entertaining drama with a breezy sense of fun and there were many things I enjoyed: Jang Geun-suk’s scowling diva with mommy issues, the pop culture parodies, everyone’s wonderfully gay duds. The thing is that I’d have enjoyed it even more if it didn’t make me feel like banging someone’s head against the wall every ten minutes.

You’re Beautiful was aggravating to watch because so much of the angst in the second half of the drama could have been avoided if the A.N.Jell boys had grown a pair and Mi-nyu had been less of a doormat. My problem with her was that apart from being dim, she also allowed everyone, especially Heyi, to walk all over her. The Hong sisters come across as intelligent women in their interviews so I have no idea how they dreamt up someone like Mi-nyu. Yes, I get that she’s supposed to be innocent but since when did the word “innocent” become synonymous with “deathly stupid”? Seriously, have they not seen Maria in The Sound of Music?

Urgh

Athena: Goddess of War (S. Korea, 2010) 

You would think that an action drama with the combined star power of Soo Ae, Jung Woo-sung and Cha Seung-won would be a riveting watch. And it is — for the first two or three episodes. After that, it falls victim to amnesia and turns into a long drawn-out soap opera and an SM Entertainment showcase, forgetting that it’s supposed to be an action thriller (or that it’s supposed to be thrilling, at the very least.) The fault doesn’t lie with the cast though. Soo Ae and Cha Seung-won, in particular, both rock as insurgents from Team Athena. Jung Woo-sung’s character is a different story altogether but this has less to do with his acting than with the way he has been written — and that’s the main problem with Athena. I have no problems with writers taking liberties with reality to create a story but the embellishments in this drama all served to make the government agents look incredibly stupid. Thankfully, this is just fiction otherwise you would really fear for South Korea’s national security.

RESCUE (Japan, 2009)

It should tell you something when I say that no amount of topless Daito Shunsuke scenes can make me sit through RESCUE (I did consider fast-forwarding through the drama just for them but waiting for each episode to download was too much of a bother.) RESCUE is one of those predictable vocational dramas filled with plenty of over-earnest idealism and preaching about what it means to save lives and be a man/fire fighter. Making things more tedious is the fact that this is obviously a blatant vehicle to push the career of KAT-TUN’s Nakamaru Yuichi, whose range of emotions you can count with three fingers. He plays the main character, Kitajima Daichi, and turns an already bland goody-two-shoes into a righteously dull bore. Bringing up the rear is a cast of stock characters comprising the Lone Wolf (Yamamoto Yusuke), the Hot Head (Daito), the Skirt Chaser (Ishiguro Hideo) and the Sensible One (Masuda Takahisa). You don’t have to watch this drama to know what’s going to happen. Proceed only if you don’t mind sitting through a nine-episode long PSA.

Rich Man Poor Woman (Japan, 2012)

RMPW

 

I have said all that I care to say about this show here, here and here.

I want my 11 hours back.

 

Rooftop Prince (S. Korea, 2012)

Where do I even begin with this one? You could cast all of Korea’s flower boys in this drama and you still wouldn’t be able to save its sloppily written hide. In the hands of a more accomplished writer, Rooftop Prince could have been an adorable drama filled with comedic time-travel hijinks and witty observations about modern Korean society. Unfortunately once the fish-out-of-the-water novelty wears off, there’s really very little to recommend this drama — not the characters, who often feel like they’re escapees from a particularly bad 70s melodrama; not the romance, which is just another ho-hum variation of the plucky-heroine-meets-ass trope; and certainly not the idiotic corporate takeover/murder mystery subplot. If you’re looking for a time-travel themed drama, there are much better ones out there. Avoid.

Trot Lovers (S. Korea, 2014)

Trot lovers

Since this is the drama equivalent of a summer beach novel, I was prepared to cut it a lot of slack and not dwell too much on its paint-by-numbers plot. While the first two episodes were fun, things went downhill after that, which is too bad because I like Eunji and would have continued watching this drama if not for the fact that I could not stand Ji Hyun-woo’s character. He was a one-dimensional asshole right from the start and it was difficult to watch him pull one dickish move after another without wanting to punch something, especially after episode 3. I tried soldiering on for Eunji and Shin Sung-rok but the more I watched the show, the more irritated I got with the half-assed ways the drama tried to redeem Joon-hyun. Am I supposed to feel sorry for this fucker because he’s got a nosebleed working overtime in a seedy karaoke lounge to pay off the heroine’s debt? Then how about not screwing her over and squandering all her money in the first place? Only for dyed-in-the-wool Ji Hyun-woo fans.

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