Tuesday, July 29, 2014

KDrama Review: A Gentleman's Dignity

The Gist: When school teacher Seo Yi Soo (Kim Ha Neul) has an embarrassing chance meeting with charming architect Kim Do Jin (Jang Dong Gun), she thinks it’s a one time deal. However, fate can’t keep them apart as Do Jin happens to be very close friends with her long time crush Im Tae San (Kim Soo Ro). Heartbreakingly for Yi Soo, Tae San asks her to set him up with Yi Soo’s roommate Hong Se Ra (Yoon Se Ah), a man-eating pro golfer. Do Jin must have Yi Soo, despite her obvious crush, even though Tae San wanted to set her up with another friend Choi Yoon (Kim Min Jong), a widowed lawyer. That doesn’t seem to be on the table as Tae San’s much younger sister Mea Ri (Yoon Jin Yi) comes back from America and immediately sets to claiming Choi Yoon, despite her brother’s protests. The friendship-foursome is rounded out by playboy Lee Jung Rok (Lee Jong Hyuk), whose rich wife is leasing property cheaply to the other three, who are determined to save an ever-failing marriage. The four guys think they might be able to sort out their love lives, when an unexpected surprise appears.


1) The Romance!

I’ve read reviews about this show that say that it’s not about anything. I found that to be rather untrue, as the plot is rather intricately building four interesting romances. Our lead couple is pretty cookie cutter, with a wrench thrown right in the middle. The actors have pretty stellar chemistry and they made a good match. Yi Soo’s roommate, Se Ra had me a little unimpressed at first. I was with Mea Ri on this on, but as Mea Ri warmed up to her, so did I. Tae San and Se Ra are actually a pretty solid match - they’re both so stubborn but really quite caring. Speaking of Mea Ri, ah, my heart ached for her and Choi Yoon. It maybe took a little too long to work out, but you could feel the desperation between them. Compelling! That just left Jung Rok, moron. I was just totally appalled at how he treated her, what an asshole! I would have demanded a divorce everyday too! Still, the way they relate to each other gets to be interesting and dare I say, downright moving!

2) Happy Ending?!

Spoilerish? What? Nobody has to be unhappy or move away or anything? I was so hoping to see all four couples together and we do for a bit. I liked as the female counterparts were building their own friendship to complement the strength of the guys… speaking of which…

3) The Magic of FRIENDSHIP

Ah, the feel good wonders of a solid story. I love the fluffy but serious dependence these four have on each other. It was a treat to watch the troubles play out between them, how they help and impede, sometimes intentionally and sometimes accidentally, each other’s happiness. When the girl you like is into your friend or your friend wants to date a family member or when you’re trying to be supportive but your friend is a scumbag, the result is complicated. For a show that’s not so heavy, the main foursome deal with some serious stuff. It’s awesome! I also love to see how young Colin (Lee Jong Hyun)dealt with the older generation’s friendship, developed his own quasi friendship with Yi Soo and Mea Ri, and got a nice warm friendship at the end for him too. Awesome :D

4) Watchability

I know you think that it took me a billion years to watch this show, but honestly I watched them in like five episode spoonfuls (the reason this is so late is because I stopped to watch Lost Girl, a pretty good American series!). The nice thing about a feel good show is that the episodes go down real easy. I probably could have watched this whole series in one sitting, if I’d had the time.


1) Amnesia?

REALLY? God damn, I hate amnesia plots. The good news is that it was only a small sub plot. The bad news is, it was only a small sub plot! If you’re going to give a main character a memory disorder, give him a darn memory disorder! It was a real big deal for like one episode, then it just never really mattered again. Amnesia is a fairly unbelievable cop out and I feel like it was just plain unnecessary for this show. The good news is that once the band aid is ripped off, it’s off pretty quick and you can move on to what you really want to see.

2) Not One

SPOILERS. Ok, so after all the desperation and heartache for poor Mea Ri and Choi Yoon, we never even get one darn kiss! We get a spoilers spoilers wedding, but even then, not a kiss! It’s like I wasn’t getting the payback on the investment in the show. So sad. I felt like the show didn’t want the actors to be uncomfortable, but come on, they’re adults, if you want your show to be OK with the age difference, be OK with the age difference! I’m 25, I would have totally kissed him. Again, there’s good news, as the actors make the most out of a pretty unphysical conclusion and have a few really touching moments. For instance! The “proposal” scene had my heart in my mouth. Choi Yoon. So determined! LOVE IT. 


1) Jung Rok

Maybe this isn’t fair, but while I came to appreciate the romance between him and his wife, he really is just a scumbag. Min Sook (Kim Jung Nan) was obviously really trying and Jung Rok just beat her down. The show definitely condemns Jun Rok’s cheating behavior, but is also weirdly on his side because he is one of the core four. When it comes down to it, I just don’t like him. When Min Sook can’t trust Jung Rok, he’s laughing because he’s actually trying now, but it’s the result of years of being torn down. I’m glad they worked things out, but I think Min Sook would have been totally justified in finally just getting a dang divorce.


So…I really really liked this show. It made me feel happy and good on the inside and gave me just enough plot disturbances to keep things interesting. The romances had me equally compelled, not to mention another nice small part from Heirs cutie Kim Woo Bin. This has all the big things I look for in a good show and overcomes the egregious amnesia error nicely enough that I wasn’t too worried about it.

Final Grade: A

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