Like a moth to a flame, so Shamrockmom is similarly drawn to Korean Melodramas. Only the Korean kind though–US ones on Lifetime/Oxygen/Oprah cable networks bore me, and I can’t be bothered. But set it in Korea, and add in a trope medley of childhood/teenage first love (a must), some tragic accidents, and angsty separations, and I am reduced to a mushy pile of feelings. Good thing I am well stocked up on Kleenex too for the inevitable tears. And especially since my boss came in sick to work last week, and now I have a
plague sore throat and chest congestion! Kimchi ramen is on the menu for today so I can breathe again. Yeah, having a fever and then a hot flash….good times! /sarc
Melodramas done right are a rarity. A bad ending will plunge me into sadness for months (My Spring Day). A couple of episodes with adorable kids/teens lighting up the screen, and I might forgive a pile of other ridiculousness (Angel Eyes). A good ending makes me feel calm and peaceful, and I think about how great it was for many months afterward (Beyond the Clouds). A fuzzy ending with the OTP not being physically together becomes fodder for a FF after recovery from a
minor mental breakdown (Secret Love Affair).
So after the sorta-letdown at the end of HITTG (which I am now fully convinced was cut down from 50 episodes *shaking fist at TPTB for that bad idea* I fear an upcoming “drama slump”. It happens when I’ve been spoiled with a first rate story, tons of terrific details and side stories. It’s difficult to wade back into the pool. It was that way after SLA too-although I had Angel Eyes to ease the transition. I’ve had more than a few dramas fall into the watch-one-and-I’m-done category lately. (Angry Mom–good, but BTDT so not interested, The Lover, Rosy Lovers, What’s with My Family, Love on a Rooftop, Hwajung–pretty but boring) Sigh.
Episode 1 of “My Love Eun Dong” is awfully close to the television equivalent of crack cocaine for me. (Disclaimer–I have never done drugs. It’s only a guess!) 20 minutes in, and I have to stop the video feed, take a deep breath, and plug in my fan. These kids–they are adorable, and amazing. Where do they find such superb talent? I can feel the adrenaline rush…it’s almost as good (but not quite) as the first two episodes of Angel Eyes–a benchmark for me in terms of teens starting a melodrama so strong, the adult leads can barely maintain the intensity. I could have watched 20 episodes of Kang Ha Neul and Nam Ji Hyun as the leads in that show. They could have carried the whole drama, no problems.
I especially liked the “refrigerator raid” scene (Lol–a fridge food/tupperware thief!) and the whole shoe business that goes back and forth between them. Hmm…shoes. Echoes of SLA come to mind.
The age gap–Hyun Soo is a HS freshman so he’s 16, maybe 17 and Eun Dong is….what? 11? 12? Whoa. That’s breathtaking, even for someone like me who is more relaxed about age gap issues. Full disclosure–my daughter dated an 18 year old dude when she was 14, and my both my boys had girlfriends who were 18 when they were 15. Now the 19 year old has a 16 year old girlfriend–and this time, her parents hate him. Because, yunno–he put on a dress shirt and tie when he went to ask her father formal permission to court the young lady. (translation: to come over to the house when the parents are there and visit her on a weekend afternoon) How many young guys do that in this day in age? I know this will not turn out well. Cue the next melodrama…..!
I admit to magnifying the screen to look closely at Eun Dong’s teeth! Yes, we dental professionals have huge issues with Olympic Chinese gymnasts who are supposedly 16; we can tell by the way their teeth are coming in–they are easily 4, maybe 5 years younger. So that’s why I’m going with Eun Dong being 11 or 12 and having a 5 year age gap between these two. Instead of being sketchy or weird, HS acts sweetly to ED, never stepping on or over the line that would creep me out. He also acts appropriately protective, which makes my heart flutter. So many dramas overblow this behavior into Stalker/Creeper territory. Oh, and how much do I like the trope of “the love of a good girl turns a bad boy around”. Yeah, I know it almost never works like this in RL, but when it does in a drama (or in RL) it’s spectacular. Another great line I love–when HS tells ED “All men are dogs…except for me!” I should remind my son to use that line with his girlfriend!
Episodes 2 and 3 are very good, but not nearly as intense–which is probably better for my mental state. The telephone booth kiss is hot and sweet–no awkward lip-press here! Yay! Adding in the grandmother who ‘ships them from the start is a perfect touch. There are more cute flashbacks, and then we get to see the 30-something leads. I like that Joo Jin Mo (adult Hyun Soo/Eun Ho) is…well, manly looking. He doesn’t look so skinny he could blow away in the next storm, nor does he look like he spent too much time at the plastic surgeon’s office. He barely retains all the angst and hurt that has been bottled up in him for 20 years. He’s got a nice deep voice too–I am a huge sucker for a deep voice. I am eager to find out how Eun Dong/Jung Eun got a husband in a wheelchair, and a kid. That CEO lady is big, big trouble–especially since HS/EH already turned down a “sleepover” with her. The little bit I’ve seen of ED/JE’s adoptive parents indicate they are big trouble too. I got a weird momentary vibe that the adoptive dad might be messing around with ED–and if that’s the case, I want him to die in a long and torturous way. Please let me be wrong on that one. HS/EH’s sis looks like she will be supportive, and I love how the writer has woven in the detail of HS/EH’s mother’s estrangement with her grandchild, picking out clothes for her while ED/JE is working at the clothing store. The pace of this drama is good–not frenetic or in a hurry, nor does it seem like things are being dragged out.
Glad to find out that this is being subbed (and quickly) on Viki–DramaFever kills it for me with their refusal to sub the word “Oppa” and a whole lot more. Will be switching to Viki for Episodes 4 and beyond.