Thursday, September 12, 2013

KDrama Review: Full House Take 2



The Gist: Jang Man Ok (Hwang Jung Eum) is finally free to pursue her fashion dreams when her strict grandfather, a hapkido master, leaves for a few months. Her dreams quickly sour when she posts a picture of Lee Tae Ik (No Min Woo), one half of the super popular group Take One, to her shopping mall page. In order to avoid getting sued, Man Ok agrees to become the group’s stylist at the urging of member Won Kang Hwi (Park Ki Woong), who loves her store’s vibe. Things are not easy for Man Ok as Tae Ik is stylist’s worst nightmare and a scandal finds her agreeing to become contractually engaged to him. Eventually Tae Ik warms to Man Ok, but that puts extra strain on the already tenuous relationship between him and Kang Hwi, who also vies for Man Ok’s affection.

Love:


1.Unpredictable












Ok, so this one comes with a sort of condition. Yes, as far as the romance goes, it’s perfectly obvious where this show is going from day one, but the journey getting there is windy and full of surprises. Many episodes would come and at the end, I’d have no idea where we were going next. This could be a bit confusing or irritating, but FHT2 does it well, keeping the twists refreshing and the focus tight on the characters. I like a show that keeps me guessing a bit, while still managing to tell a coherent story.

2.Pacing












Each episode of this show is broken up into two parts, which is an unusual technique but sets it apart when it comes to the pacing of the show. Instead of having little episode arcs, the whole thing really feels like one continuous thought, almost like a super long movie. I found that despite having 32 half hour episodes, it didn’t feel long and I powered through them quickly. 

3.Ending












Yay! Slight spoilers ahead. I am so sick of shows that separate our main leads at the end or just don’t quite wrap things up. It’s so nice to just have a cotton candy sweet ending that leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy on the inside. Almost all of our main characters get what they want in the end and while that may seem a bit predictable, the show does it well enough that I don’t mind at all.

Meh:


1.Basement Time!












So one of the things I was really looking forward in this show was the repairing of the friendship between Tae Ik and Kang Hwi. Yet, the show pushes it off as far as possible by never having the two of them in the same place at the same time. Kang Hwi spends way too long exiled in the basement, hiding from everyone and as soon as he’s out, Tae Ik takes off for Japan. The overall story is done well, but I think this aspect could have had more progression. It’s obvious the two care about each other in the first episodes, but that just devolves into straight hate for the duration of the show. I would have liked to see a little more affection between these two as the show went on and not just wrapped up at the end. 
 
2. STYLE










Oh my gosh. Man Ok has the worst personal style of anyone I’ve ever seen. Her hair is a messy fro and most of the time she looks like she got dressed in the dark. Now, in any other drama I’d chalk it up to being a quirky side choice, but she is a stylist. It’s her job to dress well. The choices for this character were totally unfathomable to me. Tae Ik’s style was a little better but his hair looked so ridiculous that you could really only appreciate it when it was flattened out for a performance. Luckily you get used to it until about ¾ through the series when Man Ok seems to magically remember how to dress herself , but it’s definitely distracting.

3.Jin Se Ryung (Yoo Seol Ah)










Honestly, for a show with characters that are layered, Se Ryung felt so one dimensional. If she wasn’t pouting and demanding things her way, she wouldn’t be in the scene. They could have given her a chance to grow a bit, but really she stays pretty one note until she leaves the show again. I get that the rivalry adds some extra tension to Man Ok and Tae Ik’s relationship, but there were already so many obstacles that I found it a bit unnecessary. She’s more of a plot device than a character.

Hate: 


1.Han Ga Ryun (Kim Do Yun)










If you want to talk about annoying characters, Se Ryung doesn’t hold a candle to Ga Ryun. She is probably the worst best friend I’ve ever seen on pretty much any show ever (second only to what’s her face on Personal Taste). Not only is she unsupportive of Man Ok, she hits her up for money, freaks out on her, then pretty much actively tries to destroy her life. Man Ok has to keep things a secret from Ga Ryun, but there is no understanding at all. If Ga Ryun was a more decent friend, she probably could have seen her beloved Kang Hwi more than once in a blue moon. Once again, Ga Ryun feels more like a plot device than an actual character who really just left a bad taste in my mouth. 

2.Music












For a show about an idol band, FHT2 is pretty slim on music. They really just play one song over and over and over again. The song’s fine, but the boys are terrible at lip syncing, making their performances a little cringe worthy. Not to mention anytime Tae Ik sang a cappella, it was obvious how much he can’t sing, which is amazing, since Min Woo is actually a singer. Maybe I’m just a little bit spoiled, but with all the excellent music dramas out there, FHT2 needed to step it up.


So:

So… Full House Take 2 was almost exactly what I was expecting. Light and enjoyable, this show is like popcorn, where you can just watch episodes back to back. The small cast made the characters very dynamic and the plot went in directions I wasn’t expecting, which is a nice change of pace. All of it wraps up nicely in a cute ending that didn’t make me crazy.


Final Grade: A-

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