I breezed through the first two episodes of Big recently, but the verdict is still out for me- about the drama obviously, not about Gong Yoo. Haha, he makes me feel like a bad person who objectifies people based on their looks…
Why are you making me into a bad person Gong Yoo?!…Now that you’ve made me so bad, who will want to marry me? Take responsibility!
So Back to the Drama…
I don’t understand these characters very well after the 2 episodes I’ve seen, but it may just be that I’m not use to them yet…Generally, I’m just confused. Nothing new for me when watching kdramas. haha. :) The body switching thing weirds me out. I accepted it in Secret Garden because the tone of the drama was so slapstick and absurd. I was weirded out by it in Who Are You because frankly, your Dad and your lover should NEVER be conflated, none-the-less inhabit the same body. o.O Creeeeepy. 49Days got it spot on.
I like that the tone is different than the usual Hong Sisters slapstick (although I do enjoy a good slapstick comedy), but I still think it could be better. I feel like this kind of topic, body switching, can only be super slapstick ala Secret Garden, or totally dramatic like 49Days. Somewhere in the middle just leaves me unsatisfied and uncomfortable. I know Da Ran had a breakdown when she thought Yoon Jae was dead, but I think Da Ran and Gyun Joon accept the whole supernatural aspect of what is going on way too quickly and sanely. Body switching is unnatural and, I imagine, a frightening experience. >shudders< They seem to just be ok with it and have complete faith that their souls will eventually switch back to their proper places and that Gyun Joon’s body will wake up from a coma when that switch happens. Neither of these things is at all guaranteed and personally that would cause me a LOT of anxiety. Giant, crippling, I don’t actually know anything about this world/I might lose my faith in God kinds of anxiety.
What I loved best so far is the mythology behind the body switch (that our leads happened to just easily accept). It is so well presented and the tone of the story and the uncanny events happening is pitch perfect the second half of the 1st episode. The entire sequence from the car accident through Gyun Joon waking up in Yoon Jae’s body, and meeting Da Ran in the hallway to the end of the episode is so well presented. The story at that point was totally engrossing and it felt like the time for the audience to step up and make a major emotional investment in the characters and the drama happening in their lives. I definitely found it captivating and completely grounding for the story. It reminded me of the tone of the ending scene of the 1st episode of Padam Padam– uncanny, alarming, and mysterious– as it should be. The imagery of the twin putti (chubby winged babies) reaching out to each other was very evocative and is reminiscent of The Creation of Man, Michelangelo’s fresco in the Sistine Chapel. It makes me wonder if at the end one will die so that the other can live?…This imagery is also similar to how Yoon Jae and Da Ran met, but he didn’t catch her and he certainly didn’t give her life, being that she ended up in the hospital for months.
So far, Yoon Jae and Gyun Joon are the most interesting characters. Da Ran is a cardboard cut-out kdrama heroine, which is annoying, but I’m just going to rely on suspension of disbelief and begrudgingly “accept” that in this fantasy world where people’s souls switch bodies, a 26yr old woman actually acts how Da Ran acts. I watched the first part of Ep. 3 and let’s just say Da Ran is dumber than a brick. Unfortunately, I can’t come up with kinder words to describe her. It’s so massively frustrating having a grown woman, a teacher, being schooled by her student on her own life. Ugh.
>Bitter, mini-rant over. Le Sigh.<
But back to the guys. I want to learn more about Yoon Jae. Why is he so brooding?… The Hong Sisters doing a mature brooding man who is also quiet and reserved! Omg intriguing, especially after blabber-mouth Dokko Jin. Plus it helps that Gong Yoo just knocks Yoon Jae out of the park. Just a few minutes on screen and he’s very captivating. It’s not just the choco abs, I swear!
And it also helps that his character is a doctor for kids. (Please don’t make it a pediatric cancer ward! T.T…anyone catch in Ep. 2 when Gyun Joon storms out of his hospital room after hearing how his Uncle and Aunt were talking about him, there was one of Yoon Jae’s kid patients in the background who got scared and grabbed on to his mom next to him? Aww.) I hope the kids in the hospital play some role in us learning more about Yoon Jae because, maybe this is a cliche, but I don’t think you can be a pediatric doctor without having a soft spot in your heart. Plus it would be great if Gyun Joon worked on his loneliness by hanging out with these cute kids. Ok, enough Yoon Jae love. Something fishy is happening with his female doctor friend. I don’t like that. I hope Yoon Jae’s not a cheater, because then he will just be dead to me and I’ll be annoyed. ¬¬
Gyun Joon is massively appealing. He’s moody and lonely, but has a sense of wit. I really like him and want him to succeed and do well and be less lonely. I don’t know that I fully buy him as a romantic lead, but funny, I see him more as a romantic lead in his 18yr old body than in Yoon Jae’s 30yr old body. There’s a disconnect between Gyun Joon’s personality in his 18yr old body and Gyun Joon’s personality after the body switch. Although Shin and Gong Yoo are both doing an excellent job acting, they seem to have made 2 separate interpretations of Gyun Joon the 18yr old. Simply put, Gyun Joon in Yoon Jae’s body does things that Gyun Joon in his own body would never do. And this difference doesn’t seem to be due to a new, unfamiliar body. It’s all about body language and mannerism. (I’m a nut about this kind of stuff. I notice everything about people’s body language and mannerism. It’s an unspoken aspect of personality that I love to recognize and understand about other people).
18yr old Gyun Joon is not goofy, messy, or disheveled. He dresses casual, but not sloppy. His body language is detached and cool, literally ‘too cool for school.’
He rides a motorcycle. He doesn’t seem like someone who would be caught running away from anything, but instead deflects bullies with wit while evading clumsy shoves and punches. He seems pretty composed for a teenager- compare him to Choong Sik for instance. Gyun Joon ducks out a window when he could use a door just because he feels like it. 18yr old Gyun Joon is kinda cocky, but not totally arrogant because we see how sad and traumatized he is. And he’s not mean (generally).
Gyun Joon after the body switch is like a different person in mannerism although not necessarily in words. Suddenly he’s so juvenile he seems less than 18yrs old. His dress is messy. His hands are everywhere fidgeting as opposed to in his pockets like before. He can’t stay still for one second. He’s running everywhere, ducking from meeting people and he’s completely unaware of himself and has almost no composure… His facial expressions are just goofy- about as close to overacting as Gong Yoo could ever get. (I know, sacrilege!) Gyun Joon after the body switch is boyish and ‘naive-cute’ (an oxymoron in my book) when he never was as in his own body. It’s as if Choong Sik, Da Ran’s goofy brother, rather than Gyun Joon switched bodies with Yoon Jae. Is it funny and endearing? Yes, but there does seem to be a disconnect.
Of course the problem is if Gyun Joon remained an elusive, brooding super-cool guy, then the show couldn’t pull off the “kid in an adult’s body” premise. This is one of the issues that has left me confused with the first couple of episodes. Gyun Joon isn’t actually immature to begin with, but suddenly is after the body switch. I thought maybe some of this perception is due to the fact that Gong Yoo obviously looks like an adult while Shin looks very young and so the same actions and words inevitably come out differently, but there’s more to it than that. They definitely bring different auras to Gyun Joon. I’m hoping Gyun Joon in Yoon Jae’s body will even out in the next few episodes now that the show has given us the backstory.
Although I’m not positive, I think the OTP is Gyun Joon and Da Ran, but who knows if they will get their happy ending? Given the clues so far I think this is the safer bet though. The Hong Sisters don’t do things without reason and they aren’t exactly known for subtlety so given how our leads met, Gyun Joon seems to have a better chance than Yoon Jae…who may just be a cheating bastard T.T >Rivers of tears<
So for me, the jury is still out as to whether this will become a drama I love, but the upcoming episodes hold promise and I’m interested to see what happens next. There are still characters to be introduced like Suzy’s character, Ma Ri. I’m interested in what she will be like. Something tells me she might be more aware of reality than Da Ran and that will make me even more annoyed at Da Ran. I just hope Ma Ri is not the “evil” girl. I am also interested in finding out more about Yoon Jae’s seemingly unscrupulous lady doctor “friend.” I’ll figure out her name at some point. What happened to Gyun Joon’s Mom? How did she die because it looked pretty traumatizing and dramatic with all that blood. In the flashback of her death two shadows were shown walking away from her bleeding body. Was she murdered?…Did she give the card with the putti to Gyun Joon and is her dead spirit somehow trying to save his life by transporting him to Yoon Jae’s body? But Yoon Jae also has an image of the putti…Something is up with Gym Teacher Na. He always acts weird around Da Ran, like outside the school gates after chiding Gyun Joon for wearing street clothes, and later he shields Da Ran from the principles sight/scolding when she arrives to work late during the morning announcements, and he was a little too emphatic about Da Ran not touching his files. Maybe he has a crush on her. :)
So many crossing love lines, so many questions, it’s got to be a kdrama!
Hong Sisters’ dramas tend to be solid, but not necessarily stellar. They have their own charm and are always lighthearted and entertaining. They are more rewarding for Korean speaking audiences which totally makes sense. Some of the best wit, puns and jokes, non-korean speaking audiences can’t understand without explanation. Sometimes a good amount of explanation at that. Something smart and funny loses its freshness when it has to be explained. For this reason I don’t think I could ever really fall in love with their writing style- because I can’t really understand the best aspects of their writing on my own and I certainly can’t analyze it on the level that I would want to. But they definitely have a bit of pop culture magic in their dramas that can’t be denied. I’m interested to see how the rest of Big turns out because it seems they are stretching their craft and trying some new things. Not to mention all the unanswered questions.